Yesterday I lost a good friend–a faithful companion who helped me see life from a detailed perspective, one full of appreciation and fascination for the beauty in the world.
My husband Kevin and I were visiting my brother Michael and his friend Nanette in St. Louis, Missouri. We spent the afternoon touring the city’s famous aquarium where I captured images with my trusty Nikon SLR camera of red leafy sea horses, fluorescent jellyfish, rare freshwater stingrays, and countless other creatures I had never seen before.
Afterwards, we stopped to enjoy a drink in the elegant lobby of the newly renovated Union Station Hotel and took in the spectacular light show. When the show first started, I took out my camera to snap some pictures, but decided that sometimes events are more fully appreciated without being behind a lens. So I sat back and listened to the dramatic music as animated images flickered and danced across the 65-foot high ceiling. We topped off the evening having a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant before heading home for the night. At 3:00 a.m., I sat up in bed, shook Kevin awake and said, “I don’t remember picking up my camera when we left Union Station.”
Trying not to panic, the next morning I searched the front and back seats of the car in vain before calling the hotel. I spoke with several different hotel personnel, hoping that someone had picked up my camera and turned it over to security. No one had. To the person who now possesses my camera, I’m disappointed that you chose not to do the right thing. At first, it was hard for me to believe that someone would do that, but it didn’t take long for the reality to set in. I hope my old friend will enable you to refocus your view of the world.
My Nikon camera was my traveling companion for over eleven years. We journeyed to the Cinque Terre in Italy with my brother’s family and my sister Merry. We hiked the 200-mile English Coast-to-Coast Trail in 2016 and the Cotswold Way this past summer with my friend Gloria. We experienced my first trip to New York City with Pam and Jim and enjoyed numerous smaller excursions, too many to name.
Our time together wasn’t limited to vacations; we attended weddings, birthdays, reunions, and graduations and shared those moments with family and friends. We took pontoon rides on Lake Mille Lacs, documented our daughter Whitney’s Twin Cities’ marathon run, saw our grandson Harper catch his first fish, and spent countless holidays capturing memories. We had the privilege of photographing my great nieces and nephews from their infancy, my friend Nana’s 100th birthday, and my mother as she held my father’s hand at his bedside during the last week of his life.
And then there was the year we lived at the Little House in Texas, viewing nature as if for the first time—hummingbirds, ants, dragonflies, birds, turkeys, praying mantis, and jackrabbits. We spent quiet nights on the porch swing, capturing the sun as it set behind Geode Hill and waiting for the moon to rise.
And last but not least, there were the angels we discovered in cemeteries on our many road trips all across the country – hundreds of angels that brought comfort, hope, and a quiet reminder of God’s presence.
Thanks to the digital age in which we now live, all those images before that day remain on my laptop, as well as in my memory and heart – the minute details and the larger-than-life events, the simple and the complex, the routine and the unexpected. I am sad for the loss of my creative companion; it was by my side during countless moments and enabled me to capture and share indelible impressions. This loss was a good reminder, however, that the truly essential in my life is the beauty and love that endures on the other side of the lens.