I head out early in the morning to the 29th Street Trailhead, my goal the bridge over the brook through Strong's Canyon. New signage directs me to a slightly different path and I snap photos of the blooming flowers as I walk to the brook and back.
When I go anywhere, and have my camera in hand, I tend to focus in on the details, see the smaller parts of the bigger landscape. I'll take a photo of the doorknocker, while my husband (with his camera) will take a picture of the street. I'll find the flowers in a canyon, and he'll take a photo of the vista.
So it was no surprise that when I got home and was reviewing my photos to find only one landscape photo showing a dark winding path with a mountain sunrise far away. But there were multiples of flowers, grasses, a bent branch, the brook -- both upstream and down -- and quite a few shot of paths descending and ascending into thickets. So I always comment that to get the full picture of anywhere my husband and I are taking photos, you need both of us: one for the big picture and one for the small details, a perfect duo.
I've been here at my parents' home for a couple of days now, and they have a marriage that is nearly sixty-six years strong and still going. Like our paired photography, one of them might see the big picture and the other, the details. At other times, the detail person catches the view, and the other notices the flowers on the path. It's a truth that most good marriages require this dance, this partnership, and it's always enjoyable to see them, at 86 and 88, still negotiating their way through. I do love coming round a corner and finding them sitting together, her hand in his. Or when doing an errand, he points out the drop of the curb, and landscaper's hose across her path, guiding her so she won't fall.
They allow me this intimate look into their lives knowing that I will take it into my own life: even with my camera in my pocket, in image after image and detail after detail, the bigger picture reveals their friendship, a canyon's worth of brooks and flowers and small gestures and larger shared concerns, grown deep over a lifetime.