I am so glad that I was born before the digital age. I was supposed to be packing today because I am moving but instead I went through a bag of photographs that we sent with mom to the memory care home and I had not gone through them since she and the photos came back home (I think she was the only person ever to leave that home alive!).
If I had not lived before the digital era I would not be able to shuffle through an elbow deep collection of photographs. I would instead be looking at my stupid phone, unable to touch paper and swirl up my DNA with that of great grandparents and uncles and aunts. I would not have been able to feel the folds, or read words written on the photo’s backs. (When people write, say, “Uncle Bob and me” on the back of a photograph do they realize that in future, when the picture is context-less, nobody will know who ‘me’ is?)
I poured out the pictures and spread them around. Naturally it made me think of British physicist Julian Barbour’s Platonia, a country without time where…all things from past and present and future happen at once. There were my family’s years, travels, holidays and poses all happening before me in the same ‘now’.
Pictured: My father, in the mid-60’s, trying to kiss my sister’s Great Dane Babe. Babe used to walk along the rows of giant tulips my mother had so carefully cared for and bite off, one by one, the fleshy, vibrant blooms. When she left the green strait stems just stood there in shock. As did mama.