Saturday, October 31, 2009

Camera synthetica

An image of the summer that stays with me is that of my daughter splashing in Keeler Bay on Lake Champlain, the water rippling out around her. In my memory, the sun is glancing off the water, but in the picture I have, the water's surface is simply shattered with light and dark.

This summer, I felt I gave the kids some happiness after years of marginal and frenetic living. We went to Vermont twice, bookending the summer. In between, their mutual camp experience while I worked was grand. I don't remember that it rained.

And, this time, the summer was recorded, in part, because I bought a new camera while in Vermont--something higher resolution. We'd not taken many pictures over the last several years. It seemed an act of duty rather than enjoyment. But how much more permanent, retrievable, a memory is if attached to a photo. I had forgotten that this makes life seem so much more real.

Had I taken this photo with our old digital camera, the water's surface would have blurred to a barely interrupted smoothness. But with the new camera, la vita nuova, each facet of the surface shows itself: the awkward elegance of water moving toward and away from what disturbs it, or shifting with mild wave energy from underneath. Light and dark in a shattering sort of contrast, but clustered the way safety glass clings together when it breaks.

This, I think, is happiness, were I so bold as to make such a pronouncement. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. The lighter facets brightest when in contrast with their darker peers. Ways that images from this almost perfect summer rise up suddenly the way the leaves have just turned vivid, ironies of the ebbing of photosynthesis.

Happiness like synthesis. Making of the reflected elements of our lives a moving, brightened surface, all of a piece, all of it, good, bad, frightening and ecstatic. The piecemeal, or leafmeal, scattering of impressions through the faulty basal ganglia. Four of us, a family, in all our awkward elegance moving toward and away from one another. Synthetic: what we make of it within the scope of what we see.


Maggie May said...

i always thought there was something fascinating about the word 'ganglia'.

this is a beautiful beautiful intelligence that you have.

i wanted to ask something but if it is not something you want to talk about or if it has been said and done then please forget it. i am relatively new to your blog and am not sure what you have discussed.

were vaccines looked into for Robert's cause of disability? i am wondering because the symptoms you describe remind me so much of symptoms talked about in the book Just a Little Prick. it's a huge book written by a New zealand advocate who specializes in vaccines and children. Each chapter of her book goes through detailed analysis of vaccines and their effects on children, the research she has done is incredible. i have never read a book on vaccines to match this book's breadth of knowledge and research and experience. the author is Peter and Hilary Butler.

Dale said...

Oh, what beautiful, beautiful writing.

Autism Mom Rising said...

Thank you!

jeneva said...

Thanks, everyone, for your good will!

Maggie May, thanks for asking about the potential causes of Robert's disabilities. The book you mentioned sounds really interesting, and I'd like to read it. I don't, though, think that vaccines played a part in Robert's disease. The onset behaved very much like a classic metabolic disorder onset: sudden, dramatic crash. There were a handful of clues prior to that, things he couldn't do briefly that we didn't know how to read at the time.

Metabolic disorders in children are often dramatic with onset as the body reaches a certain mass at which the insufficient supply or production of a vitamin or enzyme becomes completely unsustainable. Robert's response to biotin, as well as the bilateral damage to his basal ganglia suggest genetic origin.

The controversy over vaccines is significant, however, and I'm certainly empathetic to parents with those concerns regarding their children. I'll have to take a look at the book.