TIME AND A WORLD OF CHANGE ~ PART IV

Abraham Mignon - Fruit Still-Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch
Abraham Mignon – Fruit Still-Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch

Continued from Part III

The time-lapse episode I remember most vividly involved the delightful horror of watching a perfectly lovely bowl of fruit shrivel, go gray with mold and turn finally to a black liquid–a natural, everyday process of decay that took many hours, compressed into a twenty-second insight into the end of things.

About that time (maybe 1960?) in Look or Life or one of those glossy oversized magazines, I was smitten by a series of images of a family, taken in exactly the same position on exactly the same day of the year for 40 years running.

The eye tracked the frames of the series through changes of period-appropriate hair styles and clothes–and faces, or course–from before the birth of the first daughter, through the grade school years, until new babies appeared, grew and changed. Before the end of the series, the father disappeared from the pictures.

The message was not lost on me, not yet a teenager, that this chronology of portraits was just another way of depicting the fate of the bowl of fruit. Aging is time passing through us, and leaving us altered imperceptibly every minute, every season, every year.

The world of motion and of change swirls around us and within us, even as time moved ever so slowly from one Christmas to the next back then.

None–ripe fruit or mature grandparents or perfect newborns–would avoid entropy’s inevitability. But my grown-old self knows too, none should be indifferent to or ignorant of the beauty of the human and natural procession of birth and growth and senescence that the eye of the camera can show us from this grand buzzing, swirling, pulsing spectacle of life-in-time to which our eyes have grown dim.

This is the FOURTH excerpt from this topic taken from One Place Understood–a book in my mind only, maybe always, but at least until summer of 2018.

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fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

One thought on “TIME AND A WORLD OF CHANGE ~ PART IV”

  1. I like the idea of tracking the aging of the family. But it definitely has the potential of being quite depressing. I have taken many pictures of my six siblings and me over the years and, whereas most of us have aged well, some haven’t. It’s sad watching time take its toll.

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