#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 09
The idea of a collection of daily words describing how you felt for 30 days of social distancing and isolation feels really meaningful to me and something that I think I’d really appreciate having in 10 years. Think outside the box of what you might typically write!— NaNoWriMo (@NaNoWriMo) March 31, 2020
I can’t remember the last time I shot this camera. Now that I hold it I wonder why. It fits beautifully in my hands, its weight a comforting presence in my grasp. I open the back to load a roll of film and for a moment I’m lost. Was it at the top or at the bottom that the empty spool should go? I have to open the manual on my phone to find an answer.
Freshly loaded, I step out of the house with my partner. I have no idea what I will be shooting. It doesn’t matter.
We walk our most trodden route in reverse to reach a new to us park quicker. The sun is shining bright, the heat on my neck a presage of burned skin if I’m not careful. My eyes find trees and observe the delicacy of their bark, the lines crossing them, the knots creating whirls and shifting patterns, the strands of shedding bark gently moving in the breeze.
I move up and down, left and right to work on my composition. I feel relaxed. My partner is by my side, ready to let me know if anyone is approaching but in the mid-afternoon most people have already had their daily outing.
I don’t think about my gestures as I ready the shot. The shutter is cocked, the slide pulled out and stuck in my short pocket with the lens cap. I check my composition one last time, I check focus, and hold the pose for a second more. I press the shutter button, the loud clank familiar and soothing.
We walk on.
My partner points out the colour of buds and young leaves. I observe branch patterns and details in the bark. In the park, there are no trees. It is normally an expanse of grass used for football and rugby games. At the end of it, we tread over a low barrier and take steps down to a track. We follow it unsure of where it leads. I take another photo, a jogger runs past, and we reach the train station. Modern and desolate it is a scene from an apocalypse movie. The saccharine automatic voice announces the arrival of a train. No one but us seems to be there to hear it.
Past the station, around the church, and back into familiar territory, we continue our walk. I stop to catch a ray of light, the intermingling of trees, and twigs on the ground. Around us, people walk past with their dogs.
I look down at the count of photos taken. Six already. I’m halfway through the roll and I hadn’t noticed. A house catches my eyes, bright white against a green hedge and blue sky. I open the lid of the camera, frame, focus, take a shot. My gestures are as automatic as if I had used the camera only yesterday.
We’re near our home now and there are a few narrow paths that take my attention away from seeing. I sing a silly song, my voice loud to warn anyone coming from the other direction that there are people on this path already. But no one is at the other end.
We reach home and I leave the camera on the dining table. Our movements slowed by the heat, we drink a glass of water, take out a couple of ice-creams, and settle in the garden to enjoy the setting sun.
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