Sunday, September 01, 2013

August 2013 Photo-Heart Connection


This is an old picture, taken on film in 1994 on a nature walk with my dear friend Sandy (Matthews) Kaufman.     I digitized it in August for a 2B Scavenger Hunt for "Someone I Love."   And I realized this photo more than any other in August connected with my heart--just as Sandy did.

I met Sandy at Summit Ave. Coop in Madison in the early 1990s.  She lived there in the 1980s, but kept coming back to visit a few people.  She eventually met me and her husband there--I guess we were some of the people who kept her coming back there.  She was older than me by 15 years or so, but that did not hinder our friendship in the least.  She taught me so many things about life--I'd listen to her stories of drug use, her life as an exotic dancer, and her struggles with depression and physical pain ...  She lived these lives, and told me about it, so I didn't have to.  They were cautionary tales and far from anything in my own life, but I also saw that she survived and learned from these experiences, too.  She was "clean" and "reformed" by the time I met her.   She was older, and had learned her lessons from those experiences.   When I knew her, she was learning to become a Naturalist, giving nature tours and loving ecology.  She had to give up the dancing because she couldn't wear the high heels anymore.   We had many heart-to-heart talks through the years.  She was always honest with me.  She taught me how to stand up for myself at a time I let a lot of people walk all over me.  She was there for me during some of the toughest times in my life.  For all that, we spent a fair amount of time laughing, too.  Ah, Sandy's laugh was BIG. So was her smile.  And her heart.

Sandy died unexpectedly 2 months before my son was born in 2001.  She had struggled with mental illness and pain for years nearly 25 years.    I miss her, but I know she's not struggling anymore.   She is gone, but not forgotten.  I am grateful I got to know her, glad she was part of my story.

This image with Sandy holding a leaf to the water ...  Now that she's gone, it feels like she IS the reflection on the other side of the water.  Kind of like that Harry Potter scene where he loses Sirius through the veil.

 Here's another version, less tea-stained.

Over the years, I've considered using this image for an art quilt, but I haven't taken it to the net step, yet.  Maybe I never will.  The photo is beautiful in and of itself.  The magic of photography is that is captures a moment in time--forever.   When I asked her to pose for this photo, I had no idea it would become iconic.  That it would be my favorite photo of her, and a memory of our 1994 afternoon together in The Baraboo Hills.

I miss you, Sandy.

13 comments:

seabluelee said...

This is a beautiful photo, Michele. I love the flowing water, golden light, and that single leaf and beautiful reflection. It's also a lovely tribute to your friend, who it seems left this world much too soon. I'm sure your friendship meant as much to her as hers did to you.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks for sharing the story behind this photo. I'd wondered who it was and whether it was a candid shot or posed. No matter, it was a beautiful and powerful image. And now it is more so, knowing the who and the where and what it means to you. I think it does not need to become a quilt unless you think you can do even more to express this moment - I kind of doubt it.

Adrienne said...

This is a beautiful photo, and a tender testimony to your friendship. Thanks so much for sharing this piece of your heart with all of us.

Kristen Radden said...

Such a wonderful, heartfelt story of your friend. The photograph also shows a powerful stillness as well.

Kathryn said...

So beautiful and heartfelt. There are people who come into our lives who truly touch us and leave us better than we were before knowing them. So sorry your friend is no longer here but I can see she lives on in spirit through your images and memories. A truly wonderful tribute to someone so special.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

This a such a beautiful story and a beautiful photo. I like the way the light plays onto her and the reflection. After reading your story about her I also like the way she is sort of hidden away in the light and her hat. One can't get exactly a clear view of her but can see her mark on the world around her. I think that people who suffer mental health issues are often like that.

Kat Sloma said...

Such a powerful photograph, and a poignant story. I am glad you have this reminder of her, and the feeling that she is still with you, in the reflection. Thank you for sharing this wonderful Photo-Heart Connection with us. A powerful example of this practice, and how our heart connections can span so much more than a month.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this. I loved reading the story behind the image. I like the tea stained version better-it's warm, like your friendship.
I have found with those that have passed before me that there is always one photo that becomes "the one". The one that speaks of them and many shared memories in just a glance.
Great post.

gina said...

This photo touched me even before I read your words. What a wonderful portrait -- it creates such a peaceful mood. People live on in our memories after they pass on, truly a perfect PHC.

Prairie Jill said...

It is indeed a beautiful photograph, and beautiful memories to accompany it.

Nancy Claeys said...

Love the 1970s vibe this photo has -- the story behind it was bonus.

Visiting from P-H Connection.

rakusribut said...

amazing story, amazing shot. love the elusiveness of both sandy and her reflection. impossible to hold on to, but yet a very strong presence. can't stop looking at them.... love the warm vintage fond memory coppery hues. thanks for sharing!

Elsie said...

Story and photo both are amazing