24 June 2014

Little things of no great importance.

Every day a hundred words, a thousand thoughts, a million moments forgotten.  Did the invention of the camera aid or inhibit the process of memory.  Do I remember my newborn's face, or do I just recall the photograph?  

Captured forever: the muddy feet; a completed sunflower stitching; singing in the rain; the end of autumn; taking a bow; preparing for lunch with friends.

I'll look back on these in a year or more and perhaps remember the lunch - we had tuscan bean soup and salad and bread; how kinder was unexpectedly closed so Lily came to work with me; how much Grace and Lily loved making a muddy mess of the newly-dug-up veggie patch; walking to tap class through the autumn leaves, Lily and Grace playing clapping games along the way.

I remember Ruby teaching Nina those clapping games.  I remember Pauline Mak teaching me 'My Name is Aitch Eye Aitch Eye Chicken Boy Chicken Boy Uni Uni Eye Eye Eye' in grade 2.  Back and back it goes.

And a few more years will pass and perhaps I'll forget the lunch and remember only the bowl and the tablecloth. I won't remember who did the stitching but might remember sitting with my girls, helping them pull yarn through hessian.  I won't remember why Grace and Lily are bowing, but will remember that house with the high picket fence and the forget-me-nots that poked through it in the summer, Saturday mornings at tap, watching the Fred Astaires and Suzy Q's be absorbed into little feet and minds.

I wonder how our memories are distorted by photographs.  How the act of capturing that image gives it a disproportionate importance and corrupts the truth. 


  1. Your blog keeps eating my comments. Humph. I was being so deep, too.

    I have so many photos on my hard drive that I can't remember why I took them. That obviously they failed in their purpose - maybe I was trying to document a decorating project, but the photo is not a good one. So now I have a photograph of the teeny living room in the flat where I lived alone. Or the house I shared with my cousins. And all the little things are so familiar, but I had forgotten them. That cushion, I haven't thought about it in years! My aunt made it, and my cousin hated it so I said I'd have it. Remember that time we had built a pillow fort and got drunk in it? Man, I haven't thought about that cushion for years.

  2. Now that one doesn't have to pay for film and developing for every snap, I have billions of useless photos. There is something in me left over from the old days, though, that deletes photos with reluctance. Maybe there will be something in the microscopic difference between this photo and the four others of the same thing that makes it worth keeping.
    It is often, I think, the little things like cushions, or carpets, or the car or chair, that make a photo resonate years later. The cascade of memories that are triggered. But sometimes the only memory is the photo itself, and sometimes the memory is of looking at the photo - we did this a lot as kids, looked through the old photos. There are photos of me that I remember, and I remember looking at the photo, but I don't remember the occasion that the photo actually records.

  3. did your blog eat my comment too?

  4. yes it did...

    well, I said i loved that bow photo. and that the only things I'll surely remember well about my life are things I've blogged and photographed. although some photos have clear memories.

    1. My blog eats comments apparently. I've no idea what to do about it. I'm technologically the opposite of savvy.

  5. The littlest things are the best to record. You remember the big important events but it's nice to have every day moments captured and available for recall later. And as noted, the little incidental captures act as a trigger that can unleash a domino effect of memories that otherwise might be lost.

    I think that's why i was attracted to blogging in the first place, and perhaps why i love Instagram so very much.

    Please don't eat my comment.