Taking A Breather
I couldn’t take it anymore. The media coverage on Friday was borderline obnoxious, to say the least. The old way of dealing with overwhelming scenarios would be to get a good run in (eventually). That would help to clear the head and make things much more manageable. There’s just something about a sixty-plus minute run that makes it easier to put just about anything into perspective.
That was not an option today, nor will it be for still some time. Still, I couldn’t take sitting around watching the news regarding the awful Newtown tragedy. What really drove me crazy was not only seeing the media interview children on the scene, but even more shocking was the fact that parents were okay with this happening. I still don’t understand that and perhaps never will.
My wife and I live in the shadows of the Bunker Hill monument, a towering obelisk that serves as a reminder of the rich history of the surrounding area. Despite my status of ‘guy taking pictures with his iPhone’ (a notch or two below ‘photography enthusiast’ and several rungs below ‘amateur photographer’), I find myself taking pictures of it somewhat regularly because it can present so many different shots and pretty much always looks impressive. For example, think of what an up close shot during the full light of day might look like compared to a night time shot from the bottom of Monument Ave, with the street’s gas lanterns lighting the path right up to the base of the hill upon which the fully illuminated landmark sits (pictured at left).
Friday seemed as good a day as any to take a walk up to the monument, climb the 296 stairs to the observation area at the top, and take in the day’s last few rays of light. This seemed like a good impromptu substitute for a run on a day like today; we’d get a bit of exercise and still witness something beautiful in the world after seeing so many horrific things on the television all day.
My wife and I made our way up much faster than we anticipated but were dismayed to see that we had some company at the top. Of the four small windows, two of them had the view I had in mind. The window facing the city had the best view and the window facing out towards Somerville was a little more challenging. The window with the “good” view was occupied, so I made due with the lesser view. I craned my neck in an attempt to improve the situation but it still wasn’t great. My phone was in-hand with camera at the ready, but my hand rested disappointingly upon the cold stone.
It didn’t look like today was going to be the day for any decent view so I turned away. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a brilliant glow coming off the screen of my phone. I rested it back down on the ledge and ducked down to get a better look and was very amazed at what I was seeing (a site that had been essentially invisible to me seconds earlier). The large iron ring in the window was lined up just so, catching just enough light, to almost glow. What accentuated this was all the scratches on the surface of the window. Until this moment I found them to be a little distracting when looking out, but now those imperfections were helping to give the glow a little bit of an explosive element. Or, as one friend so eloquently put it, made it look like “that molten vagina thing from them Lord of the Rings movies”.
What I really like about this is simply the chance timing of it. That was the picture at 4:04:38 pm on 12/14/12. Head to the top at the same time tomorrow, or even a week later, and it’s a different shot. Due to the sun’s changing path across the sky, the location of the scratches on the window and even the big iron ring, each day presents a somewhat unique opportunity. Another day at another time it might not work at all and some days it could look even more brilliant. The fact that my camera was trained on it and I still damn near missed the whole thing only adds to the uniqueness of it.
In the big picture this was fairly meaningless compared to what was going on in the world on that day (not that things have changed much in the couple of days since). But it did help me clear my head and offer some perspective, which is exactly what I needed at the time.