Time and Distance

Occasionally, when I am taking pictures, my sense of being an observer gives way to a feeling that I am not actually physically present at all.  It’s as if I’m watching myself from above - a kind of out-of-body experience.  This was one of those cases.  The street was quiet as I passed and saw Ramón through his open door, alone in front of the television.  In this shared moment of solitude I felt like I saw the whole story of his life,  a trajectory that despite auspicious periods ultimately led to a profound melancholy as societal and personal shortcomings prevented him from providing for his family.  I felt the night air while I listened to sounds and voices coming from the various dwellings, as people prepared for supper, argued or laughed.  Each person in their own world, with their own joys and struggles, futures unknown, unaware of my presence as I took note of theirs.  I thought of the earth underneath the pavement that I had walked on many years before when the street was a muddy mess.  I watched myself - a familiar oddity who had somehow become intertwined with those present - moving alone amongst people and reminiscences.  Many of the houses in the barrio were now different from the images etched into my memory from years gone by.  Some of my first friends were grown, others dead - all in some sense gone.  A young man nodded to me and wished me well as I rounded the corner to head home,  but even as I my body bid him farewell I felt my spirit watching from above.