A Photographic Memory

ospsign1I took a lot of photos when I worked for the Times-Gazette, but I’ll always remember one I didn’t take. The image is burned deep into my psyche. I can see it clearly to this day.

There had been a fatal crash outside of Hayesville, Ohio, a quiet little town between Ashland and Loudonville. A woman had been driving home from work, went off the road and struck a tree.

For a newspaper reporter, it’s an all-too-familiar scenario, one of those things that makes you realize that life dangles from a thin thread. One minute you’re doing something you do every day, just driving along, thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner and — in the blinking of an eye — gone.

Shortly after I arrived on the scene, the woman’s husband drove up, got out of his car and took a few steps toward the wreckage. Realizing what had happened, he dropped to his knees and sobbed. A trooper came to his side, took a knee and put a hand on his shoulder to comfort him.

There’s a saying among photographers — the best camera you have is the camera you have with you. I didn’t happen to have a camera with me that day. Perhaps it’s just as well. As touching and poignant as that moment was, I’m not sure I would have taken a photo.

Sometimes it’s better just to carry an image in your heart.



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