The other day, as I left a store and walked out on to the pavement, the sky was a deep lavender colour with a streak of blazing orange underneath it all. The sun was setting, and I stopped and stared at. I reached for my phone to snap a photo, but I realized it was fading too fast to both enjoy and take a picture. So, I left it in my pocket.
We live under a tyranny of screens. They dominate our consciousness. Small ones, big ones. Portable ones, and ones that stretch out over walls. They dictate how we feel. How we express. How we connect. What we share. And it often feels strange to detach from them, even for a blip of time.
So, instead of that sunset that I didn’t capture, I am posting this photo. It is out a window on to a park next to my sister’s house. The window covered with streaks of rain. Wind howling outside. Winter is giving us one last kick in the jaw before it retreats. And I know early spring will undoubtedly hold a few icy slaps and uppercuts for any of us who may dare feel too optimistic, too soon.
Winter is generally like this photo for me. Black and white. I’ve always felt that winter was like being a foreigner in a hostile land, and I’ve made no secret of that. I am not fluent in the native tongue, so I pantomime my way through its streets and back alleys. Perhaps it is the Mediterranean half of my ancestry that drives this lust for sunlight and warmth.
I didn’t even have to do any editing on this photo. Nature, itself, drained the colour from the frame. But I’ve gained a new appreciation for the strange, mercurial power it has. One day being so rich with luster, another day being devoid of any. And how it so often mirrors my own dark times of loss and grief. Devoid of colour, streaked with tears. A heaving beast that cannot seem to be sated by anything. But a power to be respected and reckoned with, nonetheless.
Tomorrow is the Ides of March. That place on the Roman calendar where debts are to be settled. A day we are supposed to be wary of. But I welcome it. And this storm seems a fitting end to winter. A debt paid. That, at least, felt very good. Because, whether it be on the calendar or within the soul, every season has a beginning and an end.
Kenn Orphan, March 2023