A good friend of mine is currently crashing at his mother's house while he's figuring out his life. The house is a virtual museum to his childhood, from his high school sports trophies to his childhood pottery creations. But my favorite thing in the house are the plump scrapbooks of photos that document his growing up in New York, London, Los Angeles and many points in between. One of the first nights we hung out, we spent hours looking through them...
There were photos of skiing trips, class pictures, holiday dinners, vacation photos, all collected and labeled in many beautiful expensive leather volumes. As we sat on the couch thumbing through them, him narrating who was who and where the photo was taken and what the occasssion was, I was transported back to his eclectic, peripatetic childhood. I learned more about him in those few hours than any "twenty questions" conversation could have told me.
Recently I've started going through my own photographs, upoloading them and putting the originals in albums (a friend's being hit with the double whammy of a failed hard drive and a crashed computer has taught me that I'd better not ditch the originals). For a few hours, I'm transported back in time; I remember that project! Wow, what happened to that old friend? That was a fun party! It's not a vacation but more like a meditation...on myself...where I've been and where I'm going.
When was the last time you spent a few hours looking through old photos? Old letters? Old files?
[image: litlenemo's Flickr, with a Creative Commons License]