Today I ALMOST did something that was a really big challenge for me. We had 34 minutes to explore a tiny Hmong village in southern Laos. I knew I would be an intrusion regardless of how I spent my time. I knew they'd be waiting to sell me things. I knew the foreigner-Asian relation would weird no matter what.
But I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to stick a camera in their face. I love faces. I love capturing those faces inside the mirrors and through the clicks of my poorly-used DSLR camera. I'm not sure why I even take pictures because no one ever sees them……but I absolutely thrive on it.
I told myself that I wouldn't do it, and I followed through! I ran around the entire time, trying desperately to get the kids to warm up to me. Tickling only worked on a few of them. Each giggle was a small accomplishment I only craved more of. But mostly they just stared at me.
As the last of us were leaving, about 10 of them followed us down to the boat. In the confusion of chasing and leaving, there was a moment, a brief moment: one small girl shied behind the cloth draped over her forearm, her eyes never leaving me. And right then I knew exactly how she felt.
It was strange to leave. I looked at my iPhone like it was a foreign object instead of my constant companion. What's even the point, you know? Yeah, I mean, maybe someday I'll look back at this constant stream of pictures and reminisce of what this place means to me. My blog has always been a place for me to come to peace with my world: to reiterate the beauty I'm surrounded by and accept the reality of situations that envelop me………but am I becoming so dependent on what the future will need? Am I forgetting this moment, and in place filling my mind only with how this will someday be important to me? Somedays you need to look at the world without a constant perspective from behind a viewfinder.
And then I got back on the boat and saw some face-shots my professor had stolen of the old women in town and I about lost it. Absolutely and completely gorgeous. Stolen. What a proper word.
|a stolen landscape of my own|