Sunday, October 3, 2010

Outside the Frame

I want to know what is outside the perimeters of what the camera lens is panning, or framing. If it looks catastrophic, I want to know the rest of the story. Is there help? Is there also a flower bursting through the blood stained ghetto street? 

Then, the happy pictures and posts of everyone else's wonderful lives, happy families, and idyllic vacations ~ you know, the Christmas Letter version of successful living? The kind that make me feel like a loser? Our vacations seem like a disaster? Our real lives extremely, painfully dull, and real? 

Let this comfort you. Please. 

Look at two pictures from the album I posted on Facebook from our last camping trip of the season, this weekend. 

Idyllic. Pristine. Premium spot by the quintessential babbling brook. Luci Shaw's Breath for Bones, a journal, and falling leaves surround my peaceful interlude with nature. This is how what I show you looks: 



Here is what you can't see, can't know. We got rained out the first night. The ocean was socked in, so we came inland the next morning. I cried with disappointment. We set up our soggy tent in what seemed like a perfect spot. By the time it dried out, we were regretting our choice. Our neighbor had his radio on full volume. Loverby asked him politely to turn it down. It canceled out the lovely quietness for the rest of the evening because he refused common courtesy. 

The next morning, he fell out of his motor home cursing the dogs tangled with his legs. Two young boys with a live, beeping geiger counter started scouring the empty space next to us. This was all before seven o'clock in the morning. We forgot a flashlight, the dutch oven lid handle, the briquette tongs, and hot pads. 

Loverby got cranky at a new rip in the tent. I got cranky at a slow leak in the air mattress. We both became cranky at the non-stop traffic on the way home. 

There is a "however" ~  We did make glorious coffee. The brook did babble all night only a few steps from our tent door. The aromatic steam from the dutch oven meals probably made the neighbors drool. We did stay warm and dry. We did snuggle like a puzzle all night. And oh, the stars......... 

Next time you see a disaster framed, know that somewhere there are beautiful hands taking a swipe at the ugly. There's more beyond the frame. 

Next time you see someone's marvelous vacation pictures, realize they aren't showing you the blisters, disagreements, leaks in the tent, or breakdowns. There's more beyond the frame. 

And that steep granite mountain I'm nose to nose with right now? Thankfully, there's more beyond the frame. I can't see it, that's all. 







 

13 comments:

Maureen said...

Wonderful post, Kathleen.

The thing is, you have those pictures. The memories of the bad will fade and in years to come, when you pull out those pictures, you'll recall the beauty, the babbling brook, the stars, and especially the snuggling, because they, in the end, are what matter.

Jessica said...

I love this. Beyond the frame....the truth in all its glory!

Corinne said...

Yes, yes yes. I'm nodding my head like crazy over here :)
That brook alone sounds lovely... Glad you found some beauty in the trip, even with the foibles (if that's the word I'm looking for...)

S. Etole said...

the rest of the story ... there's always more than one way to look at something, isn't there?

Sandra Heska King said...

This sounds like some of our early tent camping stories. And I remember the good and laugh at the "bad."

em said...

This is SO what I needed right now. To know that everyone has dark days. Today is one of mine...mixed with light. Loving my girls, even though they are going crazy right now -- loving being a stay at home mom, even though I swear I'll punch someone the next time I hear, "Do you ever plan on going back to work??" with looks of pity cast in my direction. Feeling very unappreciated and questioning convictions. Argh! But my facebook profile picture is smiling. HA! Love you. ;)

Kathleen Overby said...

It is both, isn't it? You know...don't you.

Julie Evans said...

beautiful thoughts crafted into beautiful words by beautiful hands stirred by a beautiful soul.

oh, and beautiful pics! nice swipe at the ugly. ima wanna hafta steal that prase. kthxbtw,iheartyou.

Jeri said...

You really are developing a loving body of writing, and fresh thinking! (Could that be a source of depressing comparisons, too?) But isn't the trick to get on with the peskiness and still notice and savor the beauty? Mystics of the quotidian?

Bless you!

lau.mett said...

Thank you and I love you!

Kathleen Overby said...

Keep up your own great writing girls. Jeri, Thank you for the lovely post tribute. I cried deep. Encouragement among girlfriends is a gift.

Doug Spurling said...

Behind the scenes always feels more at home...I just wrote about my blog this morning. "It ain't real pretty but it sure is beautiful." Thanks for this. I enjoyed the camping trip.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

Love this post -- SO TRUE!!! Reminds me of the time we picked a beautiful campsite by a river, only to discover there was a train track on the other side, and the train spent all night backing up and driving forward, connecting and re-connecting; noisier than any home I've ever lived or stayed in!