Saturday, June 13, 2009

Seizing the day

Missed opportunities.

In my life, I’ve had a few.

Some I missed were intentional – things I decided I just didn’t want to do or couldn’t bear to do. Others weren't missed on purpose at all. I either waited too long and the window for the opportunity closed. Or someone else beat me to it.

Whatever the reason, it still kinda stings when reality sets in and you realize what you could’ve done or could’ve had. Or, even worse sometimes, both.

For months I have been talking about taking a certain photo in Corinth. It wasn’t a plan to capture a specific Kodak moment of time or even preserve some landmark that has meant a great deal to me growing up. It could have been, mind you. See, that’s the cool thing about growing up in a small Southern town where things rarely change or often change very slowly. You have personal landmarks – or tabernacles, as I call some of them – that remind you of where you’ve been or where you have evolved from. Hopefully most of them show the positive growth and maturity in your life.

This specific landmark I have talked about for months stood across from the city park for decades. The park plays a very significant role in my life. No, it isn’t a place of a “first” for me as some of my peers could probably claim. But the park marks a place where my family and I enjoyed years of outdoor fun. From playing on the swings to climbing on the old Air Force jet that once sat at the bottom of the playground hill to picnicking under the old oak trees, I have thousands of memories tucked away in my heart of that plot of city land.

My grandfather died when I was a small child and most of my memories of him are focused on the moments we would spend at the park looking at birds and chasing the squirrels. I never pass there that I don’t think about George Harlan Hughes.

I also have memories of summers spent in the dirt of the softball fields at the back of the park. That’s where I made some lifelong friends and learned various life lessons.

It was partly because of these memories that I kept stating I needed to take some photos of the water tank that stood across the street. I never tried to climb it to spray paint my name on it nor did I ever receive (or steal, for that matter) a kiss in the shadow of that metal monster. But the structure has long been a part of the fabric of the canvas of that block. I’ve seen rainbows behind it when I didn’t have a camera in my car. I’ve seen some of the bluest skies and puffiest clouds perched behind that tank that looked as if a large hand had literally painted there.

About three weeks ago, I was heading somewhere else to take some photos and almost stopped to snap a few pictures of the water tank. But there was an 18-wheeler parked in front of it and, being in a lazy mood, I didn’t want to have to Photoshop it out.

This morning I checked the Daily Corinthian website as I sometimes do and saw I’d missed yet another opportunity in my life. A company pulled the old water tank down about noon yesterday. Had I known that was happening, I would’ve gone over there on my lunch break and documented the event for myself instead of eaten a barbecue sandwich alone.

Some folks are probably glad to see the rusted dinosaur pulled down. I will kinda miss it being part of the area’s landscape.

But I’ve learned a lesson from this missed opportunity. From now on, when I have even the slightest urge to take a photo of something I will take the time to do just that.

Carpe diem, most definitely.

I think I need to adopt the philosophy with personal issues as well. Sometimes in life you get “do overs.” But most of the time, like the removal of the old rusted tank, the chance is forever gone.
Note: The photo above belongs to the Daily Corinthian and was posted on their website at It was taken by Jebb Johnston.


jwelch said...

ok, you are officially cutting into my study time! i love your blog. i can't stop reading it... not that i want to stop but there are a lot of drugs and bugs i should be studying. I remember the old airplane!!! It was a favorite of mine and Steph's. I also spent lots of my childhood at the park watching my dad play softball or just wasting away the hours playing until the game was done.. my attention span was short. is short. i love hearing you speak of the town i still think of as home.

Pam D said...

You know, you WOULD have to start updating with such regularity right when I'm out of town and out of pocket (no laptop.. can you even imagine?) so much. Pffft.. God's timing is not only perfect, it's ironic. Anyway, the watertower issue is one near and dear to MY heart. There was a big, green watertower across the street from my house (and even though I haven't lived there since the summer of 1982, it is STILL my house) from when we moved there in 1967 til several years ago. Fortunately, my mom knew they were planning to tear it down and told me. I took pictures of Adam in front of it, and lots of pictures just of IT. And when we went back to visit, it was gone. Maybe it needed to be gone, but still.. it was a part of my childhood, and I still hate that it's gone. Stubborn? I guess so. But it was part of my life, and who likes to see that disappear? Life as we knew it seems to be slipping away at an accelerated pace... or is that what happens when you finally top "the hill" and start sliding down the other side?