I went for a walk with my camera around my Aunt’s Wynnewood, Pennsylvania neighborhood. For every shot, I got in really close. Right up on–or down into–each bloom.
I knelt in mulch and squatted over beds. Whatever it took to get the shot.
I hoped the homeowners wouldn’t notice. I know I’d be upset if I looked into my yard and saw a stranger squatting in my flower beds.
As I shot, I saw strokes of color that merged to make up the whole. Blue shadows on the petals of white flowers that made them look even more white. Swirls of texture in the background. I wondered: Is this what Monet, O’Keeffe and Van Gogh saw? Is this why they were able to paint the things they did the way they did?
When I was in college, I spent too much time at parties, way too much time worrying about boys—and way, way too much time at parties worrying about boys.
My friends and I had lots of silly jokes. One was about squinting. We used to say that every boy was good looking—it was just a matter of how hard you had to squint to see it.
I don’t remember where we were when we came up with this, but I’m sure it was poorly lit, smelled like stale beer, and the floor was so sticky that you couldn’t lay your purse down. Dive bar or frat house. You know, one of those BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper) places.
Our joke seemed extremely funny after a couple of beers. Giggle and roar and snort beer through your nose funny.
Now that I’m much older—and hopefully much nicer—our joke doesn’t feel like a joke at all. We hit on something big and we didn’t even recognize it. Squinting–looking at something in a way where you to start to see the details of what its made of–is a very good thing.
Note to self: squint more often.