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Mundane Moments: The ages.

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My maternal grandpa was a well-meaning but mediocre photographer, skilled at bringing the shutter down a moment too early or late, or in taking pictures of things that were not as quirky or offbeat (or well-lit) as he thought.

I’m going to dredge some of his classic efforts out of the family scrapbooks where they sit unseen and unappreciated, and bring them out in the open for analysis, contemplation and occasional comedic riffage.

Another installment of Mundane Moments, then:

I like to call this picture “The Ages of Man.”

The bloke on the right personifies Youth and Action. He is a doer, a mover, perhaps even a fighter.

His long hair is pulled back into a ponytail — presumably not to interfere with his doing, moving and fighting — and he sits poised at the edge of the clump of chairs, close to the egress, which has been left open as if for the specific purpose of offering him an out.

He looks ready to act on whatever impetuous urge should seize him, and he is leaning forward as if trying to better tune into that urge.

His eyes are elsewhere, as indeed his mind is elsewhere, much of the time.

Dude on the left? That’s Wisdom — or I guess you could call him Age if you insist on a direct opposite to Youth.

He sits back solidly, arms folded across his paunch, smiling ever so slightly ’cause he knows it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that the chairs aren’t lined up neatly, or that he’s not nearest the aisle, or that the organ isn’t plugged in, or that there appears to be an overturned wooden table directly in front of him begging to be set upright. That which needs to happen has time to happen; and that which is not fated to happen does not merit consideration.

Impetuous urges? Speed? Dramatic action? Not for him now, if they ever were.  He looks Fate and Creation right in the eye. And he smirks.

In some primitive society, the older generation would crumple at the hands of the younger in a tempestuous, bloody battle, a changing of the guards out on some windswept steppe.

In our modern society, Youth is reconciled with Age, and Action with Wisdom.

They hang out together in Catholic church basements and wait for christenings to start, thinking their own thoughts to the sounds of a silenced organ.

Stamford, Connecticut, 1975.


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