Pictures I Didn’t Take

September 13, 2022

This is the only photograph I took while visiting our son and daughter-in-love in Cleveland.

I could have taken pictures of the backyard party at Geof and Cricket’s house the night of the first football game of the season (OSU 21, Notre Dame 10) or the delicious BBQ ribs prepared by Cricket.

Perhaps I should have taken pictures of the many friends who came to see the game projected on the inflatable outdoor screen or the array of dishes spread on the dining room table–as good as any church potluck. Why didn’t I take a picture of the many pots of flowers framing the backyard?

The view of Lake Erie from the restaurant where we enjoyed snacks and something to drink was certainly lovely enough to warrant a photograph and what about the cute cottage, soon to-be-an AirB&B where we stayed–just three houses away from Geof and Cricket’s house?

And why-oh-why didn’t I ask someone to take a picture of the four of us together? Silly me!

Here’s why: I was simply being present. Enjoying the conversations, the companionship, not only with our dear ones, but also with their friends. I was content to be in their presence, to feel the love and the delight in one another’s company.

And that was enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the ability to take pictures on my phone and I do that often. And sometimes I regret not taking pictures–like our grandson at his first football game this fall or this past Sunday at the potluck after church. I love documenting the change of seasons and oh, how I love scrolling through my visual library of past events.

There are also times, however, when what I most need to do is rest in the presence and allow my memory, the camera inside my head and heart, to take the pictures.

Sometimes I need to be part of the scene and not separate from it. Sometimes I need to let the moment flow, instead of attempting to freeze it into a particular time and place.

And let’s be honest, sometimes I simply get so caught up in the moment that I forget to take a picture. Oh well.

An Invitation

What pictures live in your memory alone? I would love to know.

8 thoughts on “Pictures I Didn’t Take

    • My favorite pictures that I didn’t take are ones that were taken long ago by someone else but have gone missing. I remember one of my mom and dad walking down a street in downtown Bloomington, IL. It was taken by a street photographer when they were first dating, in the early 1930s. They are walking arms linked, dressed up and both wearing hats. I wish I knew what happened to this photo.


  1. I certainly understand. We attended the memorial service of a wonderful woman (96 years) who we have known for 40 of those years and with whom I created a very large historical project. So many people to see and chat with. So many whom we have not seen in years but have known for over 40 years. The deceased at one time lived in the same town where I grew up and knew my family before I was even born. Her daughters went to high school with me but we hadn’t seen each other in over 50 years. Pictures? Not a one, but that’s okay. A lot of memories were brought up and lives shared.


  2. Ah, this is a tough one. I love to take pictures – let me repeat that. I love to take pictures – it’s one way I see the world – how I take in things around me. For me…when I have not taken pictures, I often wish I had. When a family member passes, often I am the one folks come to and they say, by chance do you have this…and most often I do. A smile here, a laugh there.

    Even so, I completely understand not taking pictures – yet, that’s just not me.


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