“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
I peer ahead of me to see an elder woman unaccompanied, cozied in her wool beanie, puffer coat, and black-knitted mittens, warm, simple, and content, with her attention towards her window. Sitting in the fifth booth to the right, one booth behind her, I can’t help wonder what she was thinking. She seems happy—an ambiance of a pleasing, foreign essence politely fills the cabin. I mimic her attention out my window, and wow. The scene presents itself with such confidence through my window cracked open slightly—rolling out ahead, an endless valley of deep green, cascading mountainsides painted in panoramic manner. I pan from clear skies downwards to see the crispest of blue water rippling forth, casting reflections of river life streaming alongside the cruise boat. A soft coolness touches the skin as the air enters the cabin, carrying a calming presence that deems the calmest state (here I was gifting complete peace to my soul). Close your eyes, and feel perfection. Let it warm you with its embrace. Quite a feeling I would presume—I peer rightward to see a rainbow of cottages so perfectly nestled within the prolific forests blanketing the hills; the unforeseen landscape breaking the mellowing fog as the boat proceeds. To my left, delicate waterfalls curve the lush hillsides in a downward flow. Is there such a thing as too much beauty for one? I believe peace exists for those who see beauty in everything.
Cruising along the fjord—Bergen, Norway. What brought me here? Sheer curiosity I’d suppose. I’ve always been a curious one. As I’ve matured, many have termed it “adventurous”. I’ve always corrected them with a simple, “No, silly… curiosity”. It takes having some sense of curiosity to drive towards the unknown; the adventure is the experience, and the curiosity brought you there. A shuffling of noise, I peer behind to see passengers exiting the passenger cabin, as they proceed to the top deck. I pack my belongings and follow. I look back on these photos sometimes and reminisce. However, when I close my eyes, I reimagine. On the top deck, I join the others. A newness in the air, we were sharing a moment as equals. No feeling compared. We direct all attention ahead to the most breathtaking waterfall cascading down the cliff-edge as the boat approaches, falling from the Heavens in nature, pure and absolute artistry. The power of nature can be so overwhelming; the feeling brought to just one magnified by the appreciation shared by all. I look down to realize I had left my camera in the passenger cabin. Frustrated, but in that moment, I recall the elder woman. I think about it now as if just yesterday—sometimes, just sometimes, experiencing a single moment for what it truly is is the best thing you can do for yourself, to know that this moment could slip your vision in an eye-blink of time if you let it. I breathe, for just the moment, and feel absolutely alive. It’s those photos that were left untaken that day that still present themselves the clearest.
By Ian Knies