Cecil and His Airplane Trip

Every once in a while, a photograph comes right up to you and demands that it be made. Most of the time, it does not involve a human being but when it does -Take NOTE. It is a sin, akin to killing a mockingbird, NOT to take it. It always involves much more than just the picture. I don’t know how to explain it, but you know, at least I do. Something magic happens on an unseen plane. And to make it even stranger, I usually don’t get it when I look at the image right off the camera.  I have learned not to assess them until many months pass. Sometime down the road, I will get it.


It was an honor to meet Cecil. He came wheeling right up to me on the streets in New Orleans last December when I attended PHOTO NOLA. He wanted me to take his picture, backward “S” and all. I did. But more transpired. It was an encounter I will never forget, and I like to hope that the experience is mutual. He shared a significant life experience with me: flying to Houston after Katrina and seeing “all the little houses and cars.”

I now understand that he had assumed that I had flown to New Orleans, which I had. He wanted to share his wonderment with someone who could understand. Unfortunately, my flight was wonderless, as I have taken much for granted. I am spoiled. But I did enjoy his wonderment with him, and that is what he needed at the moment. And I should have known I needed it too! I believe in what they say about being kind to strangers and “entertaining angels unawares.”

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