landscape of joy

Remember those kids that asked me to take their picture? The ones who were fascinated with my film camera? Here they are in all their glory.

This photograph makes me feel joyful. The explanation for my joy is two-fold.

First, even as I was making the picture I was aware of how carefree the kids were. How they easily arranged and posed themselves. How quick they were to smile. And how readily they befriended me. I tried to recall if I’d ever been like them - that easy and confident.

Sometimes it can feel safer to stay on well-trodden paths. Ruth Lande Shuman, the founder of the nonprofit Publicolor, which paints New York City Schools with vibrant hues, put it this way: “I think many of us hide behind an idea of good taste,” she said, “because we’re afraid to really be ourselves.” —Joyful, Ingrid Fetell Lee

Second, I’d been anticipating receiving these film scans all week. I’d already decided that even if they were terrible, I’d love them. Every last one. There is joy in imperfection, in the first roll of film with the thrift store camera.

As I scrolled through the scans, I felt a thrill; it was like holding memories in my hands. Printing them out and arranging them on my wall, I couldn’t help but see that I am flourishing, expecting future joy.

the way life is

Intrigued by the line-up of barber shop chairs, I stopped to take a closer look. Peering around the corner, I could see the chairs had been moved outside so the floor could be mopped. I couldn’t help but admire the work ethic of the men who swished the old mop from side to side, making a wide swath across the linoleum floor. Surely it would have been easier to sweep and mop around the chairs, leaving them in place. But they went to the time and trouble to do the job right, taking no shortcuts.

no shortcuts

improvised mailbox

I wonder if mail delivery will soon be a thing of the past. Will our desire or need for words, written by hand, fade away? We shred junk mail and sometimes we avoid the mail when we fear bad news or bills. But some of us will go to great lengths to ensure the mail reaches us, including a little improvisation - a mail box tied to an upturned table on a front porch. Waiting and hoping for good mail.