This afternoon seizing the moment of warm temps and calm winds we set out to get a Christmas tree. We drove to Culpeper County to a small farm. After chatting we walked past a distant, veiled view of the Blue Ridge Mountains into gentle woods and soft hills in search of a tall, lanky, natural tree. On the way back to our car Warren led the way carrying the base of the tree and I held the dog's leash, the saw, and the tip of the tree. The light was bright illuminating the tree trunk over Warren's shoulder and the path flanked by tall rhododendron. It was one of these moments that would have been fun to capture with a snapshot, but my hands were full so I opened the shutter of my memory and my heart, letting the light imprint itself on my soul.
But there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. When I
see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the
two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a
camera. When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the
light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own
shutter opens, and the moment's light prints on my own silver gut. When I
see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observer.
--Anni Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek