No Time For Cameras, Let’ Use Our Eyes Instead II

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.”

That quote sounds cheesy- actually, the way it gets used is so cheesy. The thing is: it’s true.

When the weather is nice my wife and I try to spend our Sundays doing outdoorsy activities with our kids.  One time we went on a small nature walk to see a beautiful man-made waterfall, the next week we rode our bikes around Flushing Meadows Park.  We visit some of the coolest parks in NYC.  We look for good settings where we can get out, be active and bond.

The playgrounds are especially pleasant to watch.  There is such a simple, real joy in seeing our children play.  No fancy toys, Ipads or phones.  They streak by with smiles plastered across their faces as they play.  We get to catch pieces of their conversations, see them share, discover, giggle.  It is one of the most real experiences there are.

At Turtle Pond in Central Park, we got as near as we could to the water to see slider turtles peek up at us and then glide along in the shallow water(Turtle Pond.  It’s a pond-with turtles in it.).  At the Museum of Moving Image, the kids had a blast making their own personal stop-motion movies. During our hayride at the apple orchard (thanks, grandma!), my 5-year-old daughter babbled on an on about apples and plants, and trees and rain, in her signature sing-song tone, speaking authoritatively, pausing only to breathe mid-word.

So many good times…a near cacophony of memories spill into my mind.  There was that polar bear at the Bronx Zoo who had a great sense of timing and um…movement. There was the laugh-attack the kids and I had sitting in the back of our car during lunch outside Dutch Wonderland.

There was the time we enjoyed  watching the sun fade beneath the horizon as we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge:

I love it when I have someone to share something beautiful with-especially when it’s my family.

Our kids’ lemonade stand from years back:

She made the juice box hats and the signs herself…we made the lemonade.

Followed by their less successful hot-chocolate stand the following winter:


And you know about Catboy


There were small, beautiful moments that we were lucky to catch.


Other moments were missed by our camera’s lenses, but our eyes captured them instead.  I tell myself to just be present, mindful, content and grateful.  I may forget the exact moments but the feelings that developed will always remain.

Boy meets world

At night when my children are asleep, I often creep over to their bedside to observe their serene, cherubic faces and kiss their warm, clammy foreheads (Sometimes they pretend to be asleep).  I don’t want to regret not doing enough with them or not hugging or kissing them enough or not appreciating them.   I almost never turn down a request for a piggyback ride, or to sit on my lap.

I used to wish everything could last forever.  I realized that in a way it was a cruel selfish thing to do.  It meant wanting my children to stay the same.  It would mean them not reaching more milestones, growing older, maturing, having kids of their own.  The moments are hard to let go of but always seem to lead to greater, prouder moments: I’ll trade kids playing in the sandbox for the day my daughter offered to sweep the floor or spent her own money on treats for her siblings.

The moments can’t last forever and they shouldn’t.  When the moments are fleeting, every experience becomes once in a lifetime, rare and precious.  This is why we want them to last though.

When that wonderful Summer’s day that we went to Central Park turned into night, after everyone was in bed,  I remember walking along the street by myself.  In the sky was a beautiful, full moon.  It’s greyish, yellow glow radiated beyond the confines of its spherical mass and hovered over our world so beautifully.  What made it even more striking was that it resided in a gap of clouds that framed it in all around while fainter wisps of clouds floated in front of it obscuring it partially while revealing segments of its silhouette.

I don’t have the picture to share with you.  I tried to take one several times, but none of my attempts came close to do doing the scene justice.  I had to settle for the memory of this beautiful vision instead.  Sometimes, the memory of what you felt becomes greater than what actually happened.   Sometimes things are better that way.


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If you want to read PART I of this post, click here. I talk about social media, a place called The Museum of Ice Cream and how we might be slowly losing our way.

17 thoughts on “No Time For Cameras, Let’ Use Our Eyes Instead II

  1. I completely agree. A photo may capture an image – but it doesn’t capture the experience. And taking a picture of the moon? That’s the perfect example. With a normal camera you can’t even capture an image that demonstrates the beauty of the sight…or the experience. The most beautiful pictures live in our memories! They aren’t just pictures- there are sights, but there are also sounds, smells, feelings, etc… Great post!


    1. I could not say it better myself. thanks for the thoughtful comments. I go to my kids plays and it is packed with people watching the whole thing through the phone. Sad . You are so right about capturing an experience.


      1. BEN! You’re right and I try to keep the videos we do take down tho 60 seconds and they still seem long. And you know how i feel about tho kindergarten plays 🙂 … Say hi to Yosef and all the guys.


  2. I agree with you as well. A picture might be nice to look back at an event, but if you don’t really live in the moment (not being distracted by cameras or phones), it’s probably not even a moment worth remembering. And you might even miss some truly exceptional moments.


    1. I was literally just talking about this yesterday! Our first reaction when we see something beautiful is to take a photo rather than to just appreciate it in the moment. Especially now that cameras are so accessible. I find that looking back on all these wonderful moments is sometimes sad because we tend to glamorise the past which makes the present feel less than perfect. The worst is going to a concert and most people are watching the whole thing through their phone, I could go on and on but perhaps I shall write my own yarn on this haha!

      Your description of the moon paints the most beautiful image in my head I don’t need to see the photo 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, don’t get me started about people on a concert. Especially if someone’s phone blocks my sight on the musician! Of course, I take pictures if I see something beautiful but I try not to have it take over the moment. I realized that when I was whale watching in Iceland. After 15 min or so I realized that something incredible was happening and all I thought of was the best angle to capture it. I then stopped taking photos and enjoyed the rest of the time. Who wants 300+ pics of whales anyway?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you. That exact thing happened at a mall concert in the park at the end of summer. My son and I were the only ones I think who did not have a phone out.
        They are either physically present but miles away formulating the ultimate snarky but pithy text message or too worried about missing the moment that they choose to watch it all on a 5.5-inch screen rather than with their own eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you. That exact thing happened at a mall concert in the park at the end of summer. My son and I were the only ones I think who did not have a phone out.
        They are either physically present but miles away formulating the ultimate snarky but pithy text message or too worried about missing the moment that they choose to watch it all on a 5.5-inch screen rather than with their own eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. sorry, I think I accidentally deleted you pot about the whales. But. Wow. Whale watching In Iceland. Very Intrepid and exciting. Yeah 300 picture i overkill I like to keep my magic number of whale photos down to 200. There is this great Youtube Chanel where the guy reords the solar eclipse but decides to be present with hi family rather than miss it by recording it around 4:30

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Last time I saw a Solar Eclipse, GoPros or iPhones haven’t been invented yet.. I love having a camera with me all the time but I wanna be more present in the moment. A lot of people might be happier that way..


  3. I’m not a big phone person–mine is old and takes terrible pictures–and I think sometimes that’s a blessing. If I’m shooting a moment, I’m not really living it. I always appreciate your thought-provoking posts, but this one was especially good. Thanks!


    1. Wow. Thank you. It took me more than a month to get it out into something that made sense. I had never been so personal before in my articles-all those pics were from our trips. Thank you again.


  4. I love this post so much! I completely agree with you. There’s something so pure about simply enjoying the present moment and sometimes it gets really hard for me because I love to document every moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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