It might sound obvious, but whenever I look at my favorite photographs or paintings, I have the confident sense that they mean something … I’m just not really sure what.
It’s the peripheral-vision pull of it — the feeling that something important is just out of reach — that attracts me.
(I’m much less interested in things I’m sure I understand).
And every once in awhile, I’ll have the privilege of spotting a moment of almostness in everyday life, which is what happened a week or so ago with the photograph you see above.
(It means something to me. Or almost means something. And it’s totally okay if you can’t see it.)
I was driving down the interstate when I spotted that truck, saw the way the hard morning light caught in all its little metal quadrangles. The sun sharpened but also seemed to undercut the painted words, and I kept staring at them like a foreign language I could decipher if I squinted just right.
(Maybe this is how my subconscious speaks. Just this: the sudden resurfacing of a bitten-off edge of dream. Driftwood. Flotsam. Lake-lapped, water-smooth bone. An image I’d forgotten I remembered, diminishing fast in the waking…)
Thomas was sitting beside me in the passenger seat, and I stole a glance at him out of the corner of my eye, feeling the breath catch inside me.
“I want you to take a picture for me,” I said, my voice tight.
“I’ll tell you exactly what to do.”
He got out my camera and aimed it through the Volvo’s windshield, and I kept taking brief little knifelike glances to see if there would be a reflection on the glass. To understand the angles, the way I might compose the whole thing without ever looking through a viewfinder.
When Thomas had the shot lined up, I loosened my hands on the wheel, felt the car steady under my hands. “Take a shot every time I tell you,” I said.
I feathered the accelerator just slightly, letting the Volvo float behind the truck — closer, closer — until I could see the lines closing in the way I wanted.
Later, when I saw the shots, I knew they were right, at least for me.
I’m still not sure what they mean, but that’s okay … Maybe the meaning will hit me six months later, when I’m driving down the road behind some other truck, in some other state, and the revelation will open like a flower inside my chest… Or maybe I’ll never know at all.
And maybe that’s exactly the way it was meant to be. ❤