I saw a dove on her nest. She looked at me, and I looked at her. She did nothing to chase me away, just simply stared.
But that stare meant more than any sort of flapping wings or screeching ever could. That stare said, “You know what is right.”
Symbols of peace–and in that moment, she certainly was. Peace does not mean the lack of interaction, the lack of possible conflict. It means communication, it means remembering that we are all interconnected.
I took a picture and moved on. She continued on her nest.
I realized that I haven’t shared some nerdiness in a while. Between that and some extreme cabin fever–come on, COVID-19, haven’t you held us captive long enough?–I ended up coming across some pictures from the last Cincinnati Comic Con I was able to attend.
Nothing quite captures what it’s like to attend a con like cosplay–particularly when characters from different worlds suddenly converge. These were taken from the top floor of the convention hall (where you can overlook the ENTIRE con and just relish in the nerdiness of it all.) And nothing warms a nerd’s heart like Merlin and Mad Madam Mim posing for a photo with Batman (left), actually finding Waldo and Carmen Sandeigo (center), and the Pines twins chatting with Snow White (right).
Ah, conventions… how I miss thee, and how I can’t wait to enjoy you again.
Going through old photos, I came across this assignment from a college photography class. We were tasked with taking a self portrait.
This was mine.
Looking at it now, I wonder what it says about me. Or, at least, the me that took it. Goodness knows, I’m not the same person I was when I was 22. (At least, I hope I’m not.)
Ideally, we’re all different people at different times in our lives. Experience forces us to grow and change.
So, I wonder now, what that Sarah was saying with this photograph. Hiding most of my face behind a book? A hat when I rarely wore hats? Was I saying that I prefer to be overlooked? That I want to blend in, camouflage as much as myself as possible?
Or maybe it was as simple as: I like reading and I wish I wore hats more often.
I think the latter is probably true.
But then I wonder… how would I craft a self-portrait nowadays? Back then I was a student. Single. My main interest was Harry Potter.
Nowadays: A librarian. Married. A total comic nerd.
A lot has changed. And isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t it amazing that we can look back at how we pictured ourselves and realize that the person we see is, maybe not a stranger, but a caricature of who we are now.
We are all works-in-progress. From age 9 to 99.
And that might be the very best thing about us. We are always characters-in-development–and we never know where our stories are going to go.
One of our final stops on the road trip my family and I took a few years ago was the Boot Hill Museum in Kansas. Anyone nostalgic for the Old West will find a lot to enjoy there, but while going through old pictures, I found myself stopping on this one. I mean… that’s an epitaph! You look at it and you can’t help but wonder: What exactly happened? And then as you wonder about that story, you can’t help but think, “What about the other gravestones?” Even those without such an unusual inscription still have stories behind them. And even more so… what about the story that preceded the headstone?
In what kind of story was that person, now buried, the protagonist? An adventurer trying to leave his mark and make his way in the brave new world of the west? Was it a criminal–an antihero pushed too far? Or a villain who was proud of his misdeeds? Or was it a hero whose life ended in a final act of bravery?
Or even all of the above? Each one of us plays so many parts in some way, big or small, all throughout our lives.
So what was the story? And even more importantly, what is the story we’re telling, ourselves, right now?
As the 11th Doctor said in Doctor Who: “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”
A few years ago, during a road trip out west, I couldn’t believe the breathtaking views. It didn’t matter if we were in a national park or just driving on the highway: Every inch of landscape seemed to have been carved by sculptors, painted by artists. The mountains, the canyons, the never-ending skies…
And I wondered if the people who lived here were in as much awe as I was. Or if it became commonplace. If, perhaps, Ohio would be more of a masterpiece to them. Would the rolling hills and lush trees bring as much joy to them as the desert was to me?
Perspective, I suppose, can mean a lot. What can we discover if we consider the world outside our own windows through another’s eyes?