Monday, June 4, 2018

Kodachrome

There is no more. There will never be again. Kodak stopped making the paper and supplies to produce ‘real’ photographs where light and nature reveal the nuances a computer never could. It was life captured and preserved. It was light captured as it reflected upon an immeasurable amount of faces, places, events and feelings. They evoke memories and even the sense one felt at the time of the click or snap. They are all there in the closet or the attic telling their stories of lives unfolding all set silently away and waiting to be remembered.

We put them up for another time. We put them up weeping for the loss of what is from the time of plenty when time stood still in those snapshots of Vicki’s and my life. We put them up in hope that they would be taken down, relived, and remembered. At some dark moments in all the moves I made, I was tempted to leave them almost in spite of those who no longer live in our presence. I wanted to forget as they had. They had moved on so why shouldn’t I. They no longer look back but ‘press on’ as their leader puts it. For them there is no looking back or perhaps not even remorse or regret. Honestly I don’t know. We are jettisoned from their lives and left to float in and out of the flotsam and jetsam of their random memory only to be quelled by stone cold scripture. Their hearts once alive now as flat and lifeless as the frames caught and stowed away in my attic. If that is not hell I don’t know what is. What they see as now dead is still very much alive. What they think is gone is just out of the view of their horizon. The world is not flat and discrete and exploring the boundaries of faith will not lead to the edge of a world where the precipice of nothingness awaits. No, the world is a circle and wraps upon itself. As does our faith and even our God. Life is not a straight line. I have come to know this. It is a bending arc where what once was comes around again for a second view in most cases. In fact, I would question a person’s genuineness if they said life is a straight line, no turning back but just a presumption to the point of truculence pacing forward believing they are getting ever closer to a God they will never really know. Why? The very walk they possess denies that.

They leave a gaping void that can only be filled by what they now eschew. How do I know this? I know this because the Kodachrome lives and breathes. It is not flat and dead but has a dimension only witnessed when the holder takes it from the dusty hot box flips it and gazes into what was. The smile crinkles and the eye lights up and there is life again. There is life in the Kodachrome. I have personally seen it. It is ironic that the last move I did was recent and the exercise of taking huge amounts of pictures stored in the attic down and into the moving van wondering why I bothered…who was there to see them? Who would care about them beside me and my wife? The Kodachrome is like love, it only has value when it is shared. There was no love left…at least from that other side so I thought. Then a miracle happened. Life circled back on itself and some who were lost to us were regained. Needless to say the Christmas pictures this year were perhaps the most valuable of our collection. They told a story of restoration, reconciliation and redemption…you know… the main motives of Jesus our Lord toward all the human race who reflected the heart of the Father. What was once lost was now found. The coin lost was regained and oh the joy and celebration that incurred that holiday. Yes, the Kodachrome lives and waits. It waited ten years silently. Put away for a time when they would be taken out and all the gushes of life relived. That happened about a month ago. My daughter who was lost to us for ten years to a dysfunctional religious group returned to us. What was on her mind and a main desire of her coming to see us? Well us of course but then there was the Kodachrome. She wanted to see and go through them all box by box. If you are anything like me and my wife there were thousands to go through. Yet my daughter spent hours upon hours looking at them, picking some treasures to take with her back to her family. Treasures they were. In her hand life sparked once again, a memory returned and a smile or tear came welling up. I have seen miracles but never as so special and yet as commonplace as a memory recovered. It whispers life and causes bone to connect to bone and sinew to sinew. It makes what was once a valley of dry bones live. We are not the ogres we are made out to be by some. We are just people. In that time I saw pictures of Gran holding my son for the first time. Me dusting the bottom of my daughter with baby powder when she was a few months old. The joy of both inexplicable and unfathomable. Looking as the Kodachrome we see what really was and is. These are the things that last and it is these that reset our forever wandering reference point when it is set by others. This is the chief crime of the group they are in. Their reality is not real. It will never be real. In those pictures love is steadfast because…well…because it is. It needs no analysis or even understanding we don’t love based on condition nor on performance or success or failure. We love because we do – the Kodachrome does not lie when even we can lie to ourselves. So go ahead and throw up an ever failing fa├žade that needs constant shoring up – so much effort to change what cannot be changed. There is no escape from the Kodachrome.
So they still wait, they are put away in hope --this Kodachrome of ours-- awaiting the circle to complete and the dry bones to hear the prophecy they speak silently and to see life return again. We wait too. My wife and daughter and her family and I. We wait knowing now the power of the Kodachrome when what was becomes what is.