Saturday, August 8, 2015

Don't Cry Because It's Over - Smile Because It Happened

Time flies when you're having fun.

They say in the end, it's the wink of an eye. -- Billy Joel

Carpe diem.

It all went by so fast. -- Dar Williams

Eight months have passed since last I took pen to paper, so to speak, but the days seem to fly by faster and faster with each passing year.  It seems only moments since my older son went off to college and yet he is about to begin his senior year. My younger son has joined a fraternity and is, for all intents and purposes, off on his own as well. I vividly remember their first days of kindergarten.

For the moment, however, we are together on vacation in New Hampshire, the one place I truly call home.  It is a place for doing nothing although there is so very much one could do.  We debate various activites each day and reject them in favor of simply sitting and staring at water and sky.

Today is our last full day. The week that passed flew by, so quickly that it almost feels as if it never really happened.  I look forward to these days at the lake, but the leaving is so incredibly difficult that I sometimes think it would be better never to have come at all. While the day we depart from New Jersey and head north is the best day of the year, the day we pack up the dirty clothes, used sheets and towels, cameras filled with photos and souvenirs we do not need, but already love is easily the worst.

But I know, really, that I would shrivel up and die without these days, however few, at this lake. There have been summers when our trek north has lasted for thirty days all told, when children were small and excursions were exciting. Gondola rides, amusement parks, nature centers, cruises around the lake, the penny-candy store. These were the fun, exciting and interesting ways for us and our little ones to pass the mornings while we spent the afternoons on beach chairs in the sun or floats on the waves, small though they may be. We had watermelon spitting contests. We slathered each other in sunscreen. We made sand castles on the shore.

Time has left all that in the rearview mirror. Now,  porch sitting and, sadly, smart phones and television are what keep college boys entertained now. A day will come, however, when they will again be making such trips to the gondola rides, amusement parks, nature centers and penny candy stores. They will have become the ones behind the wheel and the ones taking the photographs while watching their little ones laugh, having the time of their lives. Those days have passed for me and mine . . . for now.

Until then, I take photographs of sky and water, trees and old buildings, boats and dragonflies. New Hampshire is such a wealth of photo opportunities. I play around with the frozen moments in Photoshop and other photo programs, hoping to create images that make these lovely, but too-short days last well into the winter and beyond.

But all the photographs in the world will not make taking that last look of the lake before it slips into memory any easier.

Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all-- Shakespeare

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. -- Dr. Seuss, of course.