We live in a world where we feel the need to document or record every moment of our life. When we go on vacation, the need to record everything we do and see is increased even more.
As we were walking along the Niagara Falls, White Water Boardwalk I was continually taking pictures of the waves, the colors, the leaves, yes, even the boardwalk itself! It was as if I had to document every sight so that I could go home and put it all in a scrapbook or photo album to view in the future.
Of course, I did stop a few times to just let it soak into my memory, but I will admit that those stops were few and far between.
As the walk was ending, after taking more photos at the end of the walkway, I came to the top of the steps and looked down at the water. My gaze came upon a group of people standing on the bottom deck, looking out to the river. They were a family of Amish people who seemed to be oblivious to all the tourists (myself included).
I watched this family of 6, expecting them to be splashed by the water moving against the rocks nearby. Then I suddenly realized something. Not one of them was holding a phone or a camera. Not one of them was writing on paper or drawing pictures of what they were seeing. All they were doing was simply looking at the water, the plants, the gorge, the movement and dance of the waves. They stopped a few times and spoke with the family member who stood beside them and pointed at something they had noticed. Something that perhaps had touched their heart or something that had caught their interest.
I’m certain that this family will long remember this experience a great deal more vividly than all of us who were so busy taking photos and trying our best to be as creative in our compositions as possible.
I learned a lesson that moment. Contemplating and truly feeling the world around me is much more important than trying to get that perfect shot. Taking it all in is part of the process which makes a memory become real in our hearts and mind.