Yesterday I began a rather colossal task. I've loved pictures pretty much forever. I've never taken any sort of photography course, and my best photos are generally flukes, but I still love them. And I still keep taking pictures, whether of people, places, or shameless poser self portraits, I've got a massive stockpile of photos that cover life in these United States as well as my international travels.
A few months ago my husband convinced me that we should get new back up hard disks. Part of his reasoning was that my computer would be less slow and annoying to him if I was able to delete some pictures off of it and not be freaked out that they're gone forever. Of course, I do already have tons of pictures downloaded on CDs and flash disks, but even those places worry me a bit. When they're on my computer they're right there, I can see them when I want, and they create lovely little slideshows when my screen saver comes on. (Side note: these slideshows often posed as quizzes for my roommates Naomi and Laura as they got to know my family and friends better through my endless stories.) I don't ever want my computer to be devoid of photos, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to clean it up a bit.
I'd already put a number of pictures onto the hard disk, but in a sloppy way, just as individual photos without categories. So last night I began to organize those photos, and went on to categorize all the photos still on my computer. Once that was taken care of, I started going through photo CDs. That's when things got a little emotional. Looking at pictures of my life in Hong Kong, all those beautiful friends and babies and the tropical cityscape left me feeling nostalgic and hungry for more. Then I went through all of my pictures from 2008/09 in Czech making me miss my students and remember the way fell in love with my sweet Marecek. I also teared up when I came across the pictures of my visit to Becky and her family, and was reminded of how a lovely life was lost.
And of course there was also laughter.
I still have to find piles of other CDs in order to make my collection complete, not to mention one day taking on the archives of standard film photos that should all be digitized and preserved just because, but it was a good exercise, a good reminder of so many things that are important about this life. There are so many people, so many places that have touched me. It's so easy in my day to day existence to take for granted the wealth of my past. I'm not saying we should live in the past, but neither should we take it for granted. When things become mundane, when the future seems to big and frightening to even contemplate, it's amazing what flipping through some old photos can do.
Now I'm hoping I can find the spider that scared me off my nice comfy chair. I had to type this post sitting on the floor, which is one of those things I really abhor. At least there's carpet...