In the spring of 2006, a crew of 400 volunteers converted the inside of a rented F-18 aircraft hanger into a working camera. The shutter was the size of a pinhole. The film was a 3,375-square-foot-emulsion-coated canvas that covered the entire back wall. The photo consisted of everything that could be seen outside the front door of the hanger. Everything. Once exposed, the film was developed in an Olympic-sized-swimming-pool liner. The net result was a landscape photograph that was three stories high and eleven stories wide. The unprecedented achievement was celebrated by holding a reception for the entire volunteer crew in the camera!
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after. – Wallace Stevens
Six years ago, my wife and I binge-watched the first five seasons of LOST. It took four months. Many nights we watched three or four episodes in a sitting, sometimes as a way to pass the time while my wife was feeding our infant daughter… or because we hadn’t finished the package of Oreos yet. Other times compelled by a look or a glance to “keep watching,” a willingness to relinquish the joy of teasing out possible meanings.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
My priest said words to this effect, back in Lent when I went to confession: “We have this idea that life is about a good night’s sleep and a full stomach. Comfort isn’t a sign that all is well. It’s after vigil, prayer, and fasting that salvation comes.”
When I committed to writing about getting older, I thought the words would come easily. After all, aging is something that has been happening to me for my entire life. I was born. I turned 10, 16, 18, 21, and 25, and someday I will be 40, then 60, then maybe 85. But before that, I will turn 27.