Someone left a Tidbits newsletter in the cafeteria down the hall from my photography class. I read it while I ate my gryos-to-go dinner. Class wasn’t due to start until six. I had thirty minutes to read about everything I didn’t know about aviation, this week’s Tidbits topic.
Did I know it wasn’t true that seagulls would explode if they accidentally ate an Alka-Seltzer tablet?
I didn’t know it had ever been considered true. But what if they ate it on purpose, did that change anything?
What I wanted to know was more about the Spruce Goose and how it must have felt to build such a plane and then spend a million dollars a year for thirty years storing it, preserving it, keeping it from the sky.
I never found out. The newspaper told me about its three minute flight over the shoreline of Long Beach, but never strayed into any realm that might have shared that sense of limited flight Hughes must have experienced when he ground his spruce.
Once class began, our Irish instructor, whose ability to say eighteen and eighty exactly the same continues to persuade me he’s more poetic than he would admit, talked to us about focus. Apparently there are internal gyroscopes in cameras and lenses that work towards achieving stability. More stability, sharper focus.
It is his opinion, he told us as he moved through the aisles, glancing at the photos we students had up on our computer screens, that the better stabilization components in a lens are those found nearest the center point of gravity.
I flipped my notebook to the back pages where I kept poetry notes, and carefully reworded his words. It doesn’t do any good to steady our hands if the point of unease is coming from where we stand.
I left class feeling steady. Feeling grounded can happen in a variety of ways, I thought to myself as I walked across the nearly empty parking lot. I hadn’t expected a class in focus could be so reassuring. I was feeling grounded in a good way, not grounded in a spruce-goose sort of way.
Back home, I thumbed through my Blackberry to download a photo of the door. (Here I am taking a photography class and yet I still take photos with my phone.)
Door, door, doorknob, door . . . and then . . . little blond boy in blue.
I had forgotten him.
Not too long ago, in an effort to get the rest of my house painted before bad weather hit, I volunteered to babysit my painter’s toddler so he could finish painting.
Saturday morning, the little guy followed his dad around my yard, doing a pretty good job of staying out of paint. Both his dad and I were unsure if Little Boy In Blue would come inside with me while his father stayed outside to paint. But he came inside, crawled onto my lap, rubbed his eyes and slept. I quietly snapped his photo with my
cell phone camera, thinking how I envied his steady, trusting way.