A year’s passed since our last long letter, a lot has happened, as a matter of course.
Scapegrace that I am, you’ve probably come to expect this from me, and you’d be right. I’m slow to write back and reluctant to write down, in part because parsing the passing year seems to happen three times: in the moment, in telling those stories to people present, and in the context of something far more serious, like the end of a year or a death in the family or the failure to complete something big. That last one has me writing you now, in the zero hours before year-end.
Some years ago you told me: traveling, “do things out of character, do things that you might otherwise refuse, things you wouldn’t ordinarily do”. It was solid advice, and over time you’ve become a kind of shoulder-mounted devil, pressing me to try things that my Midwestern “let’s not” training would have me sit out. I can tell you, it has led to some damn interesting things, some new perspectives, and some great meals. Starting at your parents’ house in Paris suburbs. Haven’t forgotten their kindness and hospitality, not to mention best-in-six-months espresso, bread, fondue, and unreasonable patience on the ride to the airport. And damn, the night out in the park with your sister and her friends, and P., that girl-with-the-gorgeous voice who spent all night talking my ear off in three languages, well. Damn. I left enchanted and reminded of the potential intensity of things.
The problem with letters like this ends up being length. Almost never the letter itself, but the time elapsed. Two years! How to sum that up succinctly, how to set straight the everyday and make my current position make sense. Man. I’m at a loss but not lost, and I came up with this plan a while ago where I’d just extract a little thumbnail out of every picture I’ve taken in the intervening ages between seeing you last and the present year ending. They aren’t in any kind of order, but I’m not the sort of person who tends toward order, anyway. The first few pictures are from the first few days I owned my D200, shortly after we met in Longes. The last few are from just a few months ago. These are the pictures I was taking when I wasn’t writing.
To everyone I haven’t written, but especially Max, Lera, Dima S., and Lisa Daniels.
A lot of this post ends up being about two years ago, and that’s because 2008 was such a bum-rush, mixed-bag, blasted awful disappointment. Goodbye to old things.