I found an old picture of myself the other day.
I’m sitting there shoulder length hair, flannel shirt and cut off jeans gurning for the camera petting my dog. It’s a picture from a simpler time, sitting in my mum and dads yard I must be 15/16 or so. Convinced that there was nothing better in life than sitting around all day and listening to music and reading. It’s that period in life when you are aware of the possibilities life has to offer and you have none of the responsibilities, all I was probably bothered with was where I was going to find cash to buy the next record or three, maybe nothing has really changed in some ways.
So I looked around a bit more and there are the strange and wonderful pictures, fragments of life, my dad and uncle with the canoe they made, my mum sitting on the sand, my grandad in his suit in a deck chair, my aunt brushing flies away from the sandwiches. My Nan presiding over all of us, her hair perfect, china cup with tea in it, watching us the maternal presence.
Later on pictures of me with friends, girlfriends, teachers, priests, neighbors and passersby Sitting on the grass, in pubs, grave yards, drunk, stoned, bored, sometimes all at the same time. The family gatherings, the school trips the events, christenings, weddings, funerals, concerts, festivals, all the moments in a life.
Leafing through old photo albums. Kids being born, raised, leaving home, coming back, seventeen house moves, various gardens, cars, truck, ski trips, hikes, canoeing, kayaking, bike riding, running, falling, walking, out of breath, sweating, laughing, crying, blowing candles out, empty beer cans, wine bottles, soda cups, cakes and hamburgers. It’s all there before it went to the cloud.
Realizing how young we looked with our first kid, long hair, blue jeans, flannel shirt, two young hippies(?) with a new baby as the neighbors in Formby would say. Get a haircut son as I pushed the stroller/pram along the road. Riding around in a blue Ford, station wagon/estate car. The cat, black serene, vicious, condescending. Clothes on the washing line. The uneven footing of the pavement.
These days the pictures are not a physical item, they are digital in the cloud, in the aether maybe. We are older now, slower, less hair in my case, the blue jeans are there, the flannels, the sweatshirts and shirts. The ideals are the same, humanism, liberal, considerate, surrounded by the conservative, actually when I think of my neighbors here in the styx, the majority are fairly liberal, the conservatives are however the loudest most intimidating, big trucks and target practice on the weekend.
The knowledge that however it gets we are all pretty rich at the end of the day.