Originally published on March 20th, 2007 at Onward & Upward
While Paul and I had a long-distance relationship, one of the things we missed most was seeing each other every day. To make things better, I made a website for him called “An Ashley a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!” Every day, I took a picture of myself using my tripod and uploaded it. He got to see what I wore that day, how I did my hair, whether I wore glasses or contacts, and what current state my apartment was in. He loved it and looked forward to his daily picture. I loved trying to come up with fun poses for him.
The pictures helped make the distance geographically seem not so great.
A few years after my dad’s parents passed away, he and his siblings got together one Labor Day weekend and went through a bunch of my grandparents’ pictures. In the pile they found this one:
I like looking at it and wondering who the people were. They were my ancestors, and that was their store. Here is a piece of their life, a single moment captured in a picture that I can look at today and wonder. Some of the pictures we found were of my grandparents when they were young. Wow, us cousins look a lot like our grandparents! How my father and aunts and uncles looked like their relatives! How we all looked alike!
The pictures helped the distance in time seem not so great.
When I was in high school, I was close friends with two of the Peruvian girls who attended our youth group. Seeing pictures like the one above remind me of them, and of our friendship. We were quite different, culturally. I had my American ways and my English language, while they had their Peruvian customs and Spanish mother tongues. I grew up with hamburgers and apple pie; they dined on lomo saltado and chicha morada. Yet when I look at this picture, taken at the end of a weeklong youth retreat at the beach, I am reminded that they are girls just like me. We giggled and had crushes on boys and enjoyed lollypops just the same, no matter our skin color.
The pictures helped the distance culturally seem not so great.
My grandmother and I have always been really close, and it was hard on her being away from her grandkids the whole time we lived overseas. She always made us feel loved, though. She would send us packages in the mail of anything and everything. She would send us pictures of their house and changes they made, and of their gardens. She would write us each long letters wanting to know all about our lives and our friends and school. This picture is one that was taken during one of our visits to the States:
When I look at pictures like that, I am reminded of the happy and fun times I’ve had with my grandma. I can laugh with her, and tell her my hopes and fears.
The pictures help the generational distances seem not so great.
A picture is worth 1000 words, they say. And oh so true. That is the beauty of photographs! They can transport you through time and space. They are the bridge between the two cliffs. And for that, I am grateful.