Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Look Before You Snap

I've heard of "bear jams" occurring in Yellowstone, but despite having driven through that park twice, I never had the luck of even coming close to seeing a bear the. But, today was the day! As we made our way from Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada, we come upon a string of backed up traffic. The photographers standing at the edge of the road told us the traffic jam was the result of a wildlife sighting. I joked that I hoped it was a bighorn sheep because my husband has yet to see one of those. "Or a bear," I said. "I'd take either one." After all, neither of us had seen one of those in the wild before, either.  I got out my camera and waited hopefully.

My husband spotted the bear first and had to point and describe where to look before I picked him out of the tree trunks. There he was! A small brown bear was ambling through the pines, his brown fur highlighted to gold when the sun hit it, and his face much cuter than those I'd seen stuffed at the museum the day before.

Okay, so I only got a glance of him... Still, that's how I remember him looking. I tried to take a picture, but he went deeper into the woods, and the pictures look like a forest with maybe a shadow in there somewhere.

Want to see how it worked out? Here you go. Good luck spotting him.

I also can't capture so much of the scenery here in Banff in any kind of way that would do it justice.

Beauty is fleeting, and when we try too hard to hold on to it, we lose even more of it. I tried to get a picture instead of enjoying the view of the bear for each of the few seconds I had. And what about all of us at all these beautiful natural sites? Don't we also lose something when we spend so much time looking at our phones and cameras or posing for pictures instead of standing in awe of God's handiwork?

We do this in other ways, too. We lament what getting older does to our looks, and we fight against it to the point that we don't enjoy the beauty we have.

It's my goal to look at and really enjoy beauty in the moment before I worry about trying to preserve it or lament the fact that it's leaving. I'm looking longer, even if it means I don't have time to snap a picture. That saying about love works for beauty, too: It's better to have seen beauty and lost it than to have never seen it at all.

My invitation to you is to look before you snap a picture, too. Don't get too caught up in the goal of a good picture to enjoy the moment the picture is supposed to represent.

Yes, I still use my camera. Those pictures can prompt precious memories. But I'm more conscious of enjoying the moment. I may have fewer pictures to prompt the memories, but I'm counting on the memories being that much stronger for it.

When have you set aside the camera to make sure you really enjoyed a beautiful moment?

Your Sister

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