Travel | Exploration | Lifestyle

Collecting Volumes of Experience

To gain entry into restaurants in Manhattan in the current state of the pandemic you need to show your vaccination card or a picture of it. Some folks also ask for your ID, which I’m happy to provide. I’d left the card in my hotel room, but fortunately had a photo buried somewhere on my phone. And I eventually found it in the mass of recent pictures – was that San Francisco? Los Angeles? Raleigh? Vermont? It seems I’ve been busy lately.

During that search I stumbled on a photo of three birds pecking in the South Carolina surf at sunrise. I remember the moment, still less than two weeks ago, but the picture was lost in a crush of other photographs and memories (or is that .jpeg’s and memories now?). It occurred to me that I ought to hit pause again soon. And right on cue Thanksgiving arrives in America next week. More timely, and more different, than ever.

Life comes at you in waves, and we’re a lot like those birds, waiting for something to chew on with the next one that rolls in. Sometimes you find that where you’ve landed is the perfect place at the perfect time for you. And sometimes you look around and wonder whether you’re on the right beach at all. The answer isn’t always obvious, and the real trick is to keep an eye on that next wave so it doesn’t wash over you.

I’ve collected thousands of photos of moments like that moment with the birds. Small and large experiences captured in memory, both mine and in some data center in the Cloud. Scrolling through a few hundred photos looking for that picture of my vaccination card reminded me to spend a little less time planning the next landing spot and savor the one you’re immersed in now. It’s not always about finding a better beach, but simply enjoying the one you’re on, and appreciating where you’ve been.

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