Water Under the Bridge

  • Aperture: f/11
  • Focal Length: 86mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/59 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

People like to say that time changes all things, heals all wounds, and I have found that to be true. Just as the water shapes the land, time smooths the sharp edges and softens the memory until all that remains is a hazy image in the mind. On December 1, 1991, I fell in love with a high school classmate while watching the Alabama-Auburn game on television. That one day in history eventually led to heartache, but it also led me to Tuscaloosa, to the life I live today.

Thirteen years ago, I couldn’t imagine anything beyond my academic-driven, narrow little high school world. I had never seen the sun set on the Black Warrior River, never watched the moon rise over Lake Tuscaloosa. I couldn’t imagine being happier than I was that day, but I have been — many times. I couldn’t imagine seeing my work published in anything more than the local weekly, but I have — many times. And certainly I couldn’t imagine anything beyond graduating in four years, marrying my high school boyfriend, getting a newspaper job in my hometown, and settling down to have children. Time changes all things.

I couldn’t imagine that that very same boy would fall in love with someone else and go on to make her his wife. I couldn’t imagine that the tiny kitten we found together, Boogie, would be joined by six others thirteen years later. I couldn’t imagine that I would go on to work as manager of a portrait studio, editor of a newspaper, and a freelancer with my own company. I couldn’t imagine that in thirteen years I would wreck three cars, live in two different apartments, work at a grand total of 10 jobs, some simultaneously, and buy four cameras, four cell phones, three computers, and one iPod.

I have lived through kidney stones, sinus infections, food poisoning, pneumonia, a heart murmur, and several major depressions. I have lived through one serious break-up, a handful of deadbeat boyfriends, one head-on collision, a peeping tom, and a tree that could have killed me when it fell just seconds after I drove away while covering Hurricane Ivan. I have had the job of my dreams and the disappointment of a lifetime. I found the mentor I had always wanted and said goodbye too soon. Time heals all wounds.

I wouldn’t want to be the person that I was thirteen years ago. I wouldn’t want to have the life that I envisioned as a young, idealistic 18-year-old. I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences that I have had because they have all helped me grow as a person. And as for my future — I can only imagine.

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