Saturday, February 5, 2011

A non-moral paradigm of the fallen nature of existence

Recently I experienced a non-moral paradigm of the fallen nature of existence, certainly including my own. On a Saturday morning this winter I left home by car before dawn to explore west. After I crossed the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah River, I noticed in the car's rear view mirror the light from the rising sun. Two horizons figured significantly in perspective here. The sun had emerged above the plane of the coastal plain east of the Piedmont, but it had not yet cleared the Blue Ridge itself, to be seen directly and fully in the sky by me west of the mountains. Thus hidden, in a sense, the morning sun nevertheless burnished the broken clouds overspreading the ridge to a ruddy luminosity. I turned off the highway onto a smaller country lane paralleling the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah to seek a back-east view conducive to an attempt to capture this moment of glory in a photograph. As I stood in the snow at the fence to a farm pasture, through the viewfinder of my camera I carefully framed and focused the scene with ridge and clouds and light. When the composition seemed right to me, and the color at peak in the sky, I pressed the shutter button. No image appeared in the display on the back of my digital camera. Puzzled, I pressed again. Again, no image, meaning no photograph. Baffled but stubbornly persistent, I pressed the button a third time. Still no image, no photograph. Frustrated, I pressed one last time to no avail, then checked the camera settings more closely. Deflated, I discovered the camera had no media card, so no image could be recorded. As it happened, when I had used the camera the week before and taken the media card out to transfer images to the computer, I neglected to reinsert the card into the camera immediately after the transfer. Hence, a malfunctioning camera, or to be more accurate, photographer. And so on this Saturday, west of the sun, east of my foolishness, I missed a moment for photographic beauty. When the glory passed from the clouds, I ruefully chuckled at my mistake and loss, tucked myself and my memory of the view back into the car, and continued through the gray morning.