Monday, February 10, 2020

Box of memories

I brought in a rubber tote from the garage. In it are years of photographs, many on prints and negatives but hundreds on slides.  This box has followed me for decades through many moves and many broken resolutions to finally scan all the images.

Looking through the pictures, I realize that essentially I took all of them for myself.  Occasionally other people were interested in seeing them or were forced to (relatives, partners, coworkers), but for the most part they stayed in photo albums, slide boxes, or envelopes.  There was no social media to post them to for people to press a "like" button and comment.  In the earlier years, there wasn't even a way to preview them to see if you looked fat or weird, or if the picture even came out.  You took them into the photo lab, took the risk of double prints, and hoped for the best.

Now with one click on a phone you can upload a photo.  If you don't like the way it looks, you can alter nature by adding a filter.  You can smooth out your wrinkles and photoshop strangers out of a waterfall shot.  You can even post photos of an activity while you are doing said activity.

I like seeing people's pictures.  In fact, I snooze or unfollow a lot of people on Facebook without them knowing, if all they post is political diatribes and mean memes. I would rather see hiking pictures.  I like seeing their kitties and doggos. 

But there's a downside.  Social media has made it possible for people to travel places without any research and without any caring for the land.  They see photos and want to go there, so they do.  They trample the superblooms in California and Arizona so strangers will "like" the pictures.  They take wedding photos standing on fragile moss. Some formerly secret places have been ruined by the influx of visitors.

Of course, some of this disregard for the land has always happened.  People have always cut switchbacks,  left trash, carved their names in trees, and been generally oblivious to the damage they do.  But social media has caused an explosion in this activity.

Sometimes I wish the internet would go away (she says, as she types in a blog on the internet).  It won't though, so all I can do is be aware of my habits in my corner of the world, and treat the places I go well.  I'll keep some of them secret, and let people find them for themselves.  And I'll treasure the box of memories that I have, back when I went places and nobody knew.


  1. You said it so idea how to reverse the trend or even if it is possible, but everywhere it is "I was here" with attention to the I and not to the HERE. Glad we all had a time before the selfie stick and the rush to publicize self over the land. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    1. I don't think it's possible. I just wish more people cared about the land.

  2. I cringe when I hike and see damage caused by careless people. People who rave about what they are doing but then drop their trash carelessly. Really people??? Ruins it for the next person!


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