I thought I would take one week off from writing about The End, to write about the very beginning. I have just returned from the low country of South Carolina where this picture was taken. That was over 30 years ago. It has reminded me of how the end may be just a beginning
In my early twenties, photographically and in many other ways, I was looking for wisdom, insight, and strength. I was not interested in physical strength, but rather depth of character. While I danced around with my own feelings of inadequacy, I was drawn to people who had endured and persevered. These people were the focus of my attention.
One afternoon while traveling on Wadmalaw Island in South Caronlina, I came upon this old unsettled house where I found an elderly woman whom I thought interesting. This woman, as were many of the people I photographed at the time, was in her 80s, and displayed the qualities for which I had been searching. I was in my twenties, and was sure that wisdom and grace were only to be gained as one grew older. Life’s history had to be played out for some years before one could reveal it.
However, just as I was about to photograph this woman, my wife at the time suggested I look at the woman’s grandson. Because I was so focused on his grandmother I hadn’t even seen him. As soon as I really looked into his face, I saw all that I was looking for: a soul that far transcended his years, and graciousness and wisdom that usually comes only with age. Added to this, I saw one of the gifts of youth: his vulnerability. To this day, this simple picture is one of my favorites. It was a gift to me that I thought I would share with you.
What is important for me, the day after this Thanksgiving recess, is to try to realize the small gifts that we are given. I must try to find something new, not necessarily in a place that’s unfamiliar, but rather in a person or a place that is right beside me.