What do cats know about happiness? Everything. My #1 teacher on the subject is Merlin who despite advanced age and kidney disease, sits in the lap of happiness. On the weekend I followed him happily doing his favorite thing exploring our property. Please note: He is always supervised and the property is large, safe and private. I captured a series of images that made me very happy until I realized the time left to photograph is him is finite. I’ll let him finish writing.
Merlin: Yes, it’s true. My days are numbered as are the number of photographs to be taken. The question is: What has more value? 1) Spending time capturing images frozen in time or 2) Spending time capturing memories in the moment?
1) You are separated from the subject by an artificial filter physically and metaphorically but it creates tangible results. 2) You connect directly with your subject with all your senses without technical or intellectual distractions. There is nothing more power than being fully present. The downside is there is nothing tangible to hold in your hands except a memory and memories fade.
Layla: Having to choose between these two is not making me happy. Is there is a third choice?
Merlin: The choice is not the cause your unhappiness. It’s your attachment to the outcome. You want to have your cake and it eat too. You want to enjoy our dwindling time together and document it for posterity but at what cost?
Layla: Feeling guilty about taking to many photos and not spending enough time with you one on one?
Merlin: Guilt is a useless emotion and has no value.
Layla: By letting go of guilt, I would take the middle path. Less photos but more profound memories.
Merlin: That is the third choice. Middle way. Best way. Happy way.