Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Photograph

Our summer heatwave has come and gone, leaving us all a little limp and the grass brown and crunchy under foot.  Yesterday I got a call from a retired teacher friend who runs a construction business, saying he and the crew would be over to work on our deck.  This photo is is me holding a picture I took in 1991 when the crew added the deck to the back of our house.

Now twenty-one years have passed, and the guys are back out there working, except that our friend Jim, shown here minus his shirt, as passed away.  Gone for several years from a heart attack.  We needed them back because they originally built the deck around the silver maple tree, and even though we all thought they left a big enough hole to allow the tree to live and grow, over time its trunk filled the space and its roots began to heave up the deck boards.  So yesterday the crew removed the circular seat built around the trunk, and are rebuilding the section damaged over time by the aging tree.   I can hear them planning, sawing and running the power screwdrivers as I type, and imagine them as I remember them when they first planned our shady summer retreat.

It's funny how nostalgic I feel having them back, and I can imagine Jim, perhaps just stepped away for a minute.  Time passes, things and people age and change, and for me photos make that gradual change more tangible.

Which brings me to a website I discovered recently that gave me the idea to take the picture of a picture.  It's called Dear Photograph, and it is a brainchild of a young man who had the idea to take pictures of the past in the present, then write about the changes that have taken place over time. He started a blog and invited other people to do the same thing, with touching results. It's worth a look.

Dear Photograph,

A house becomes a home when you live in it for years, and when you change it to make it your own. We bought this house on a shady street in an old neighborhood in 1990, and loved the place's nooks and corners, its cove ceilings and wood trim.  We didn't love he back yard so much, especially since we like eating outside in nice weather.  So in 1991 we invited Russ and his crew to build us a deck.  We couldn't stand the idea of cutting down the maple that shaded the back porch, so we had them build the deck around the tree.  Jim designed a wooden seat encircling the trunk, and a railing to keep us from falling off the edge. Two decades have passed, and the tree has gotten wider, too broad for its space, so it's time for a little updating and maintenance.  We all are a little older (and maybe wider too), but we're all still hanging in there, and hoping for many more summers.


Anns Art said...

What a great photo and great idea with Dear Photograph. I have taken a look over at the blog, thanks for sharing that. Hope you are pleased with your new revamped deck (sorry one of the builders has passed over though) but time and tide wait for no man as they say.

donna said...