Monday, December 31, 2007

End Of The Year Thoughts

When I was a kid, my brothers, my sister and I built a Scotch broom fort on our property. We hacked down some of the plants - probably with Mom's sharpest kitchen knives - and made trails throughout the hillside patch where we could walk, or crawl on our hands and knees, invisible to the outside world. It was a hot scratchy hideout, but better than nothing - which is basically what we had to work with.

I was reading "Alice in Wonderland" at the time and found the hideout to be a quiet, private place to concentrate on the book. With two brothers and two sisters, privacy and quiet were hard to come by.

One afternoon I accidentally left the book in the Scotch broom patch. The next day, when I went back for it, it was gone. After questioning my siblings, who denied any knowledge of the crime, I immediately discerned who the culprit was. It was not some passerby. I knew it was the White Rabbit. To this day, I prefer that explanation over all others.

Have you ever wanted to believe in something so much, that it didn't really matter what the facts were? Of course you have; we all have. This is how faith prevails and religions get started. Against all realistic evidence, people chose to believe in the unseen and the extraordinary.

On the seventh night of Hanukkah this year, at our house, something unusual happened. I was taking digital photos of my husband lighting the seventh candle on the menorah. I took three photos of him until I was satisfied with the picture. Then I took one more.

In the last photograph, where he is lighting the last candle, there are seven purple ovals "hovering" around his shoulders above the eight candles - seven candles for Hanukkah and one candle to light them. How odd, I thought.

Just recently, I had read an article on what I considered a "woo woo" topic; a belief that the "orbs" or balls of light in digital photos, are supernatural and show the presence of spirits from the other side.

When I read the article I thought of the thousands of pictures I have taken. None of them ever showed the presence of an orb. Poor lighting, blurry images, someone just turning their head from the camera, yes; but no orbs. And why, I asked, would there only be orbs in digital photos and none in single lens reflex cameras. Those old photos didn't show orbs. Why not?

Well, as anyone who's used a digital camera knows, the leap in technology has not been without a price. We can see our photos right away, but many times they are much poorer images than those made with an old fashioned camera.

This, however, was my very first orb photo and it fascinated me. I found myself wanting to believe there might be something to these orbs. I have always regretted I never got to meet my husband's parents. His father died when he was very young, and his mother died when he was in his 20s. To my knowledge he only has one photograph, a wedding portrait, of his mother and father together.

There is also a roll of 8 mm movie film, which a video shop put on VHS tape for us so he could watch it. In this short film, he (a toddler) and his sister are forever in the sunny back yard of their California home, coaxed by their parents to push a baby carriage, smile and otherwise perform for the neighbor's movie camera.

This small clip of time during the early 1950s is all that's left to remind him of family times together. With my own huge, loving family, I have always felt a little sorry for anyone who doesn't have as many wonderful memories.

I guess that's why the purple orbs appealed to me. I could try the experiment again with the candles and camera, but something inside me wants to accept another explanation.
I'm not a kid any more, and I may not believe the orbs are from the other side (or that the White Rabbit really took my book) but I do want to believe my husband's family was near him that night; that they always want to be near him in any way they can - even if it's only in my imagination.

Happy New Year to all!

Femminismo's overactive imagination is sometimes handy, but it's murder when a dentist appointment is coming up or she's alone in the house at night.

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