The eyes he gave me before my birth

My uncle gave me a 35mm camera. From it I learned the finer distinctions of light and shadow and the grainy music of film. I had never taken pictures that looked more beautiful than real life until I learned to balance aperture, exposure, focus, and natural color.

What could be more beautiful than a walk in autumn-sun-dappled woods with a full roll of film? Only a walk in frigid barren woods too cold for snow when the dull colors of the trees defied the wind-chill.

The camera caught it all. Some of my shots came out bad, and you could say I wasted a lot of money; but the gems were worth it. Oh, there were gems.

In a desperate drive to get out of dodge, flying over potholes and tramping through the March mud, I forgot my camera. In the woods I found muted colors: the artist had arranged it all so that even in death, the organisms would sing in symphony.

It was not a camera that I needed, but the eyes he had given me before my birth.

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