On Friday, we drove through the Adirondacks on our way to visit my folks for the weekend. It was glorious, especially in the southern part where everything was either at or just barely past peak. I wanted to stop EVERYWHERE to take pictures.
But we waited until we got to Lake Placid (which is one of my favorite places in the whole world and almost as much of a home to me as where I grew up, because of all the time I spent there in my college years, working almost every single weekend of the fall and winter at various sporting events) and could get some lunch as well as pictures.
Except then my camera quit working on me. And it was raining, so I couldn't take the time to mess with it without it and us getting soaked. So we grabbed lunch and drove the rest of the way up to my parents'. No pictures at all.
(We fixed the camera once we got up here, by the way. The lens had some dust in it.)
I was a little disappointed at first, but then I got thinking about the nature of beauty. Isn't, maybe, half of what makes some things beautiful, their transient nature? If the trees were always this dizzying array of golden, orange, and red, would we notice them as much, or would we take them for granted after a while?
Maybe, by not being able to capture the whiteness of a mountain cascade spreading like a veil across the dark rocks, the reflection of red and yellow in a lake at the bottom of a mountain, the colors spreading across the horizon as far as the eye could see, maybe by only having to fix them in my memory instead of relying on the camera to record them for me ...
Maybe I appreciated them more.
And maybe, if I think of these days with small children as beautiful in their passing, if I look at potty training, and self-control teaching, and mealtime struggles, and never ever getting enough sleep, as memories getting locked away in my heart instead of tasks sucking up my life ...
Maybe I'll appreciate them more, too.
Not to say I won't still get frustrated and tired and occasionally longing for the days when they are older. But if I think of these days as fleeting as the autumn leaves, it might make it easier for me to delight in them.