The photograph crackled when i looked at it the second time. The first glance was fine. I had printed a heap of them, only to find this one of a tree with a blank grey Northern sky of late winter. I’m sure the photo was fine, but then a great metal crack appeared zooming through it. Like it couldn’t restrain itself. It just had to be. Life is so like that at times, everything seems fine and then an irreversible crackle sounds suddenly and you struggle to mend the cold enormity of it and maybe even pretend it is not there. But it is, real and larger than the tree you so carefully cultivated for years. You see that evident sometimes, divorced people tear their brittle life photo memories apart, or fold then in half and keep their ex facing the hardboard of the picture frame, while they cheerfully look out into the room from a scene from way back. Perhaps the folding types want to keep the ex there, just in case – perhaps they can mend the whole thing somehow. Hope to mend the love that was, now lost in an instant.
Still the crack itself is not a gap, it’s a thing dividing the brittleness of the scene. I went back there, to the park with the tree in it. And yes, i felt i had to go an touch the metal of the tear in the air, spiking up like lightning in reverse. It was cold and heavy with condensation to touch and I felt no calm with its seemingly infinite jagged height. Made of hardened stainless steel and welded together, it’s permanency in the face of future storms looked assured. The rent in the photo had turned into a real thing. A spire of substance, permanence and worth.
Still there is hope and a faith in mending. Love is something which can be rebuilt and mended. There is still time to take another photo of the tree. Just the tree this time, steady in focus with my back leaning on the cold of the spire. And so the new photo shall not crack.