Jun 2, 2015 - travel    No Comments

A Very Present Photograph

I just returned from Italy, the land of good food, large gatherings, and plentiful hand gestures for communication.

I had a delightful time. Va bene.

I traversed hundreds of miles via planes, trains and automobiles. I hoofed dozens of miles with my own two feet. I witnessed literally centuries of history: People, places, vistas, monuments. And in all of this travel, I took only one photograph.

Would you like to see it? Would you like to see how I summarized the entire experience of a lifetime in a single picture?

photo

Could have done better, eh? This sign in the airport bathroom made me giggle so I snapped a picture of it before I turned off my phone. We had strict packing guidelines for this trip and my digital SLR just didn’t make the cut. I also chose not to upgrade to an international phone plan so my cellular phone spent ten days off to allow me to be off the grid.

Both of these decisions were made purposefully to allow me to be fully present. I took one photograph not because nothing else was worthy, but because everything was worthy! I wanted to be immersed and fully present where I was for the short time we had in Italy. I wanted to see the sights with my own eyes and trust my teammates (who had better camera equipment than me anyway!) to capture the beauty. One day, I sat on the boat returning from Amalfi, perhaps the most beautiful coastline in the world. I was drowsy and tempted to nod off through the steady rocking of the boat. And yet I thought to myself, “These sights will not be before these eyes forever. Enjoy them today. Soak it in.”

Be present. Enjoy. Take mental pictures. I long to capture moments by turning off my phone and camera and enjoying the setting in my being instead of through my technology.

So I only took one photo. And I’m totally okay with that. Va bene.

 

What will not be in front of your eyes forever? Children, views, art, projects, cities, concerts, ceremonies. What makes you want to be fully engaged now and how can you be better at being present? 

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!

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