There has been a significant correlation between the number of photos I take a day and the day I began keeping my camera in my coat pocket. I put on my jacket to go to class or to take the dog out, and it’s already there, reminding me to notice things, to look, saying “Here! I’m right here, already in your sweating palm, why not just snap the picture?” It makes me think of the old habit of keeping prayer beads in a pocket, always there, reminding whoever keeps them of the presence of their God, and his openness to their communication. My camera in my pocket is like that, maybe. Or wanting to be. Reminding me of the little wonders in the world, to notice them, take part in the greater sphere of things rather than get caught up in the little minuscule and self-centered human cosmos. It’s funny, too, because when I’m brooding over class or some new or old occurrence in the day-to-day of small college life, and I feel that little camera in my pocket, I momentarily forget everything else, startled in a small way, and whatever I happen to see then in the Universe around me makes me smile, which makes me feel better, which makes the brooding simply seem foolish. My sister bought me a set of prayer beads from a Buddhist monk in Myanmar, which I now keep hanging by my bed. Part of me hopes that there is maybe a special power to them to help me keep my mind in touch with the greater things there are. Or maybe that there’s a monk somewhere on the other side of the world praying for whoever owns these beads he made. They remind me just before I shut off the light and after I’ve read the night’s chapter from The Chronicles of Narnia that there is something more to this world.
The camera in my pocket reminds me to look forward, outside, around me and see.