Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Uncaptured Beauty

I love photos. I love taking them, looking at them and being affected by all the moods and emotions they can evoke.

But often I find myself reaching for my camera or phone to take a photo of something even when I know I can never come close to capturing how beautiful it is in person.

I have a perfect example of this from the 18-mile run I did last Saturday. (Yes, I will keep talking about that run until I do my 20-miler next weekend, and then I won't be able to shut up about that one, either.)

I ran from my home in Ballard to Fremont, then crossed the Fremont Bridge toward downtown Seattle. Just across the bridge there's a row of leafy trees lining the sidewalk as you work your way toward the Westlake Marina path.

On this day, those trees exploded with glorious fall color, and the low, early afternoon sun made them glow spectacularly. Imagine branches adorned with soft golds and vibrant oranges reaching over the path high above you, the leaves rustling gently on a perfectly crisp autumn day.

It was one of the those moments I would have tried to capture with my phone had I tucked it inside my fuel belt, but I hadn't.

Instead, I paid rapt attention to the curves of those branches, the depths of those luminescent colors and the quiet splendor of that sunshine. I opened my eyes and my heart as wide as they would go and allowed the details of this scene to come flooding in. I attempted to drink up as much beauty as possible as I ran toward it, knowing that I would just as soon run away from it.

I hoped to take a tiny piece of it with me.

My route allowed me to circle back to this exact spot about 10 miles later, and the view remained just as stunning. I felt very grateful to be able to experience it in person not once, but twice. I felt lucky to have been in the position to notice it at all.

I have nothing to share with you about that scene besides the details I memorized and how I felt while I was there. I have no photo to tweet or post on Facebook, no concrete evidence to prove how glorious it really was.

But the tiny piece of it I have tucked away in my mind is just as vivid as any shot I could have taken with the best SLR. The composition, contrast and clarity are spot-on. I don't even have to fiddle with the white balance.

I have the leaves and the light. I have the feeling I felt when I saw them. And their beauty is out there still, uncaptured, waiting patiently for the next lucky observers to come along and open their hearts.


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