Well, I have a feeling this is long overdue. Today, Lara and I woke up and hiked 4 miles up the mountain ledge to Crystal Lake, situated directly under Crystal Peak.
This was my favorite hike next to Cataract Gulch (a trail that follows a cataract up to the Continental Divide and Cataract Lake). It had a great view of town, Red Mountain and the surrounding peaks, aspen groves, and great climbs. By the end, you’ve arrived at a serene lake, quiet and peaceful.
Of course, we brought our new camera to capture views, things we did, etc. As we walked down, we discussed our next invention (as if we have invented other gadgets and gizmos): the smell camera. Walking past pines, flowers, breezes off the lake, we wanted to capture all the aromas. Candles don’t do it justice, just as a picture doesn’t do the actual view justice.
Which brings me to a thought I’ve been mulling around in my small, insignificant mind the last couple weeks.
As you can tell, some of these pictures are posed - set in a certain way, ordered, etc. The self timer has been a great invention to capture everyone while having no one behind the camera. But as we walked through the mountains, we stop to pose at so many places. Later on we can relive those moments captured through a shutter. But I know my own tendencies. Notice this picture (which I also have/will have up on Facebook). Epic picture. On the edge of the cliff, gazing off into the world, the mountains wild behind. Can’t say that Lara caught this candid. Would I be out on that ledge if I knew Lara wasn’t going to take that picture? Um... probably not. I’m not big on steep stuff just for the fun of it. But I wanted epic... at least hoping people would think me epic. The truth is, I spent 15 seconds out there. Not enough time to ponder world peace. Not enough time to find the answer to end poverty. Just enough time to get a picture.
I am a person infatuated with myself. I want to portray a picture to people by my pictures, updates, etc. I want to create. Create myself in some way, any way. I think back on the college days and wonder what it would be like to enjoy those friends, memories. I want to recreate it.
“Wait, wait... go back to that spot. That’s perfect. Great picture.” Well, that moment was passed. That thought, that face, that overwhelmness by the mountains is over. But let’s capture it. Let’s try to recreate it.
Now, I’m not bashing pictures. There is a great place to remember. We are commanded to remember. We want to remember. But we also want to relive. And what I’ve found in myself is sin in those moments. I have ceased to allow God to create, allowing Him to be the Creator. I become the creator of those moments, memories. “I think it would be better off this way.” “It was way better the way I experienced it before.”
In pictures, I find myself not looking at the lake, but at the picture just taken of the lake, even though the lake is right there! I forget about listening to the wind and birds in my hammock, but think about how cool of a Facebook status this would be and what others would think. I stop thinking about the Creator and start thinking about the created (myself, the pictures).
One of my favorite memories of being out in Lake City was doing a midnight hike with my brother and a couple of buddies up Handies Peak. The moonlight was overpowering, the shadows casting off the ridges. I will never forget how little I felt, how powerful God was, how amazed by His creation I was. I tried painting it once (I am a terrible painter so it wasn’t good), but I couldn’t get it to a point where it was real. We draw still life pictures because they try to capture something that we get a glimpse of in the picture, but experience in reality. C.S. Lewis talks describes a painter who painted because He wanted to tell people about light. He was overwhelmed with its power and wanted others to know.
What I’m trying to say is, are we allowing God to be the Creator in our lives, in our experiences or are we trying to take control? With our pictures, our memories, our “creations”, what are we telling people? Are we telling people how epic we are? Are we creating to portray ourselves in a certain light?
Or are we describing how epic our Creator is, trying to describe just a glimpse of who He is.
May pictures never do your life justice. May our God do your life justice.
P.S. For the smell camera, we are going to have to work out the kinks (i.e. not allowing people to capture bad smells and use them against others, etc). Any ideas?