Experience v. Photo

The sunset was magnificent. It spread out against the sky in six shades of orange, coral and gold. The sky, in contrast, was almost turquoise. Half the sky was painted with the sunset. I looked up, and my eyes filled with color.

On another day, I did take the photo.

On another day, I did take the photo.

It was a busy street, and almost everyone pulled out their phones and began to photograph the site. At first I thought they were phoning friends to describe the colors, but no, they were photographing for the next post on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a natural decision, now that we are all armed with cameras and video cameras that come with our phones.

I stared at the sky, experiencing the hugeness of it. I didn’t want to photograph it. I didn’t want to experience it through a viewfinder. I wanted to feel the colors with my whole body. Of course, I have no photo of that sunset (the photo in this post is of another sunset). I might forget it. I can’t show it to anyone else.

But I experienced the sunset as a full-body experience, powerful and beautiful. And it’s OK that I didn’t record it and that it is gone. It was a pure, clear moment of wabi sabi, and I am grateful.

-Quinn McDonald lives a life that is sometimes unrecorded, but never unfelt.