The mosaic of a life

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My drive to work each day is relatively stress-free compared to most commuters.  I have a 10-minute journey through a small, quaint little town and the traffic in the winter is minimal at best barring any unforeseen wildlife charging through an invisible cross-walk.

This relaxing drive affords me the time to look around and absorb the nuances that make me appreciate the fact that this town is my home.  Like all towns, Port Carling is steeped in rich history and tradition and we are proud to boast those memories in our Museum as well as through unique artist renderings.  In 2005, “The Wall” was unveiled and, at the time, it was the largest historic photo mosaic mural in the world.

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(image credit: muskokalakes.ca)

This tribute to history contains 9,028 individual photos that bring to life the 1922 RMS Sagamo going through the locks in Port Carling.  These photos span a century from 1860 to 1960 and yesterday, for some reason, this mosaic really struck a chord deep within me.  I have passed it every day on my way to work and never took the time to truly comprehend how snapshots of occurrences in our lives can create such a grand picture of our past.

So many little pieces of our history are used to make up our most significant memories. Stopping to look at this wall made me think of all the snippets that have etched themselves into my brain and have begun to create the mosaic of my life.  Some of those fragments in time are dripping with vibrant colors of happiness and others are mottled with the greys of anguish and grief, but all of those hues combine to create the spectral portrait of my life.   

If you were to create an emblematic picture of your journey, what would your mosaic look like?

The things we were meant to find beautiful

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They grab my attention

and hold me in their embrace.

Chasing them to catch just the right shot

is like chasing the illusion of perfection.

Their shapes, like our lives, can change in an instant

also changing our perspective.

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Once you adjust your position

the view is never the same.

The closer you get to something,

the more beautiful it becomes.

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Sometimes, if you are lucky,

the view is so much better than you anticipated

and those moments should be savored,

breathed in like a fine wine.

 Our destiny is written in the sky,

our hope, painted on the largest canvas possible

but our dreams can change in a whisper.

Although the wind may alter the portrait,

perhaps it was meant to change.

Just maybe, life is as big as the sky

and those clouds should be the cherished blessings

of the things we were meant to find beautiful.

Even the greyest skies can be beautiful

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Mottled grey,

monochromatic morning

lending a painting

as the ceiling of our day.

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The sky need not be pink

for us to see its splendor.

There is beauty in all things,

we just have to look beyond the norm.

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A storm will come and go

but there is always artistry

in the wake of its anger.

From darkness blossoms light.

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Oh, the things you’ll see

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cloud porn

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Hours after a summer rain,

the skies are host to what I like to refer to as “cloud porn”.

It is my guilty pleasure to watch the shapes change,

to watch what or whom the sky would like to reveal.

I didn’t see the face with the big sunglasses,

smiling from the sky,

until I added the picture below.

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Or sometimes more than a thousand words

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When I first saw it, I was captivated by it.  A simple photo of a friend on Facebook grabbed and held my attention but it was no ordinary photograph.  I had hoped there was more of an explanation to it than mere Photoshop and I was thrilled to hear her tell the story behind the picture.

She had agreed to have her portrait done by her friend who is fascinated by the origin of photography.  He posed her and painstakingly went through the process that photographers went through back in the late 1800’s.  His camera was an antique with the accordion-style lens and the black hood that covered the head of the photographer.

He waited until the precise moment that he thought he had captured her true essence and he let his finger plunge the button that would acquire every detail of her spirit.  The result of his effort was remarkable.  He printed her face on tin to truly encapsulate the original process of printing a photograph.

I stared at her photo for a long time.  There was so much more to it than just a picture of her face.  There was a story in her eyes.  His diligent process captured much more than just who she is now.  This snapshot seemed to hold the story of generations, perhaps lifetimes of moments that led up to her being in his studio and posing for this shot.

It wasn’t a selfie or a picture as a second thought.  There weren’t 100 takes in a minute because that is all we have time for nowadays.  He paused, he let the camera do what it was meant to do and he took a thousand stories, captured them in one single photo and printed them on a piece of tin.

erin

Look at the artwork in this photo and hopefully you can now understand why I was so drawn to my friend’s picture.  Without the use of any computer tricks, this photograph projects so much more than just a face on a piece of paper or a computer screen.  This picture has depth, emotion and a lifetime of moments that led to her presence in our present reality.

If I ever have the chance to do this, I will jump at it.  I would love to see what kind of story my face has to tell and what ghosts from my past linger in the background, searching for recognition.