Monday, January 9, 2017

Before the Snow Fell- Baltimore's Inner Harbor

About this image: The light was divine. It was a freezing cold morning, single digits, in Baltimore and here I was waiting for the National Aquarium to open. Snow was in the forecast, but it hadn't started yet. Everything had an early morning, just before the snow starts, stillness to it. The harbor was eerily quiet. I guess everyone was hibernating and conserving their warmth. As I walked around near the Aquarium to stay warm bundled in my winter coat, hat, and gloves (tears pouring down my cheeks from the coldness in the air), the small ripples in the water and the reflections in this scene caught my attention. That and the divine quality of the light. And so here is the result of altered photograph that I love so much. I hope you do too.

I was at the Aquarium because my daughter had a dolphin encounter experience scheduled that we had given her for Christmas. She had to be there at 8:30AM but I was not allowed in the Aquarium until it opened at 10:00AM. So, I strolled around a bit until it started snowing when a security guard took pity on me and let me sit in the atrium area between the two sets of sliding glass doors for an hour. At least it was heated and I was nice and toasty until I could enter the building. After her experience was over (which she absolutely loved, by the way) and exploring the rest of the Aquarium together, we strolled over to the Inner Harbor Barnes and Noble store. We sat and had hot chocolate in the cafe area and chatted about her dolphin encounter. We both noticed out of the corner of our eye a man sketching us. He sat across the aisle from us with his sketchbook open and a pencil lightly gripped in his hand. He would glance up at us quickly and then sketch for a few seconds before glancing up at us again. This went on for a while and then he put his supplies away in a black leather bookbag and began getting his coat on.

Something inside of me told me to address the man, so I casually said to him, "So, you're going to leave and not show us the sketches you made of us?" Taken slightly off-guard (I don't think he realized we noticed he was sketching us), he hesitated. Slowly, a smile spread across his face and he said, "No," in a shy tone. I mentioned to him that I was a photographer and digital artist and I would love to see what he sketched. He smiled again and said, "It is only of shadows and shapes." I smiled back and said, "Ok." I wanted to respect his privacy. I know art is very personal and I didn't want to push.

But then the unexpected happened. He turned to Brenna and I, introduced himself as L.J. and said that he was a bit rusty in the arts because he recently got his vision back after being blind for 5 years. He went on to tell us that he had a very unstable eye disease that was out of control and he lost his sight due to tears in the cornea. Then, he said a miracle happened when new soft contact lenses were introduced and at the advice of his doctors, he tried them. They were able to improve his vision to 20/40 after not being able to see anything but light, shadow, color, and vague shapes for 5 years.

He stood next to us for a while and continued telling us that his wife had given him a sketchbook for Christmas and he had filled over 200 pages since then. He said he was very excited about being able to brush up his drawing and painting skills after being out of practice for so long. I told him that he had an incredible inspiring story and wished him well with his health and his art. He smiled and said, "My day had been made better for having met you. Some people in this world are nice but some people are horrible. It was a pleasure meeting you both." And off he went about his day, leaving a forever impression in my heart and mind.

It's pretty cool having encounters like this. It restores my faith in humanity and in miracles.

Meet L.J-

Have a beautifully blessed day!


1 comment:

  1. Nice story & I'm glad you actually made his day as much as he made yours. A very nice encounter - rare for the inner harbor. THANX!


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