Waving goodbye to my eldest daughter Allison, son-in-law Drew, their friend Kate and the two huskies hunkered down in the back of their Toyota Rav, an osprey glides over Elmira Pond.
My wave turns to two-handed gestures pointing skyward toward the pond. We had waited for the osprey to show all weekend. Some moments come at the wrong time--the kids pull out onto the highway and are gone; I stand on the front porch without a camera; and the obnoxious red-winged blackbird routs the osprey.
The moment passes, taking with it all the other moments of an exceptional weekend: the conversations and laughter, the intermittent birding, the multiple games of Catan, the jokes about summer in the Pacific Northwest as we stoked the fire, the impromptu walk around the Elmira Schoolhouse, the spray of wildflowers across the pastures, the peach flirtinis, the continuing box of chocolates, the mist and rain, acclimating horses to dogs and dogs to horses, the trip to the Bonner Mall theater to see Tom Cruise in 3-D, the steak and twice baked potatoes followed by more Catan, the breakfast at Samuels and the last Catan game.
And I don't have a single photo.
Photo-less moments are among my favorite. We're such a crazed culture snapping selfies and moments as if we were living lives narrated by Howard Cossell. It's one thing to photo-document moments of country living on a northern Idaho peat bog to share across place and space, but when the moments of sharing time with others arrives, I want to live in the moment, not the documentation of it.
When I take photos, I'm not fully vested in experiencing the moment. I realized this when I tried to video-record my daughter Allison dancing live at a cabaret show in Missoula this past April. Never before had I tried to record my daughter whose dancing career has spanned 22 years. I always watched with full attention. When I tried to record, I felt like I wasn't really there, so I tucked my camera-phone back in my purse.
Some days are like that on Elmira Pond, too. Some days, I just leave the camera upstairs and sip my coffee and let life unfold without a script or record of the moment passing. I simply live it, sip by sip.