A Picture Speaks

24 Jan

I was taken with a Nikon camera, at sunrise, against the backdrop of one of nature’s greatest miracles. I was snapped by a young man who had no idea that in six short days, the picture he was taking would be a beacon of hope to a whole family.

I was presented to them in a manila envelope on the worst day of their lives. They have copied me into 8x10s, into 5×7, into wallet-sized pictures to carry around with them all the time. I’ve been given as gifts, ensconsed in frames and hung on walls. I sit over fireplace mantles and in the center of living rooms.

He is their son, their brother, their father, their friend. He is standing in the far left of the frame, with his back to the camera. His figure is all blackness and shadow, so dark that you can’t see the color of his shirt or his hat. But the outline of his ears, the tilt of his head, and the breadth of his shoulders leave no doubt this is Nathan. His silhouette is outlined against the expanse of the Grand Canyon. It lies before him, with all its depth and peaks and valleys highlighted by the rising sun. The sun blazes, a white-hot ball radiating orange and yellow across the sky.

They picture him on that blinding ridge, a place where he can look out over everything and everyone he ever cared for, laying comforting hands on their souls when they need it most. I provide them with a visual, and they can imagine that he looked down from that place and saw that the love and peace and fun that surrounded him in life comforted all of them, even in his death.

They look at me to remind themselves that if such a thing as heaven exists, it looks like that. And he is there.

This post was inspired by a prompt from Write on Edge:

Do objects have a memory? Does a rocking chair hold the essence of the snuggles it has witnessed? Does a pottery mug remember the comforting warmth it offered a struggling soul?

The dictionary defines personification as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.”

This week, tell a piece of your story from the point of view of an object who bore witness.

400 words or less.

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9 Responses to “A Picture Speaks”

  1. The M Half January 24, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Gorgeous. Pictures are worth 1,000 – er, 400 – words. This gave me goosebumps. Truly.

  2. Subhakar Das January 24, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    A picture to last a lifetime…

  3. Barbara @ de rebus, via WoE January 24, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Oh, how wonderful. What a beautiful sentiment for this picture to carry.

    Small typo: “I provides” should be “I provide” in the 4th parag.

    Great idea – this really demonstrates how much an object can mean! I particularly liked the line “He is their son, their brother, their father, their friend.”

    • Kristina January 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Ack! I hate typos, thanks for pointing it out!!

  4. Life of a Doctor's Wife January 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Hugs and kisses. This is lovely.

  5. Kathleen January 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    It is a beautiful picture, and a graceful reflection.

  6. Angie Kinghorn January 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    This is beautiful. Both the photograph and the writing. I can see why it would be such a comfort to his family.

  7. Gina January 26, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    This is a spectacular picture but it’s meaning and value to so many is what I love best about your post. It does look like heaven is right there!

  8. debseeman January 29, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    A very loving tribute. Very lucky to have such a wonderful photo to remember.

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