Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Art of Anticipation


I was the photographer for a wedding this summer. It was a lusciously hot August day. Sublime sunshine and aquamarine skies were the perfect backdrop to a garden wedding at the conservatory. The bride was stunning, the groom elegantly handsome...perfection. Time raced by, my camera catching delighted grins, sheepish smiles, fairy-like little girls dancing in the grass. Hands holding, cheeks blushing, stolen kisses and tender glances... As the day melted slowly into evening I filled roll after roll of film with joy. Moments suspended like crystal stars that will be gazed at, held, cherished by many for generations to come.
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As I snapped couple after couple, there came a moment with one member of the bridal party that I still smile over. She was funny, beautiful, and she gave me her glass when I was trapped sweltering on the sidewalk awaiting guests--earning my eternal gratitude. She wanted some pictures with her boyfriend and of course I obliged. As I turned and calculated lighting and space and angle I asked them to pose. I said, "now I want you to look at each other...click...and now slowly move to kiss her...click...and now--wait." They froze, half an inch from each other, the world lost as they gazed into each other's eyes...click.
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They kissed, they laughed and pulled apart and she turned to look at me--a bit flustered. "Trust me," I said, "you're going to love that picture."
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I have one of my husband and I, taken by a friend on the beach. Our lips seconds from contact. Every time I look at it I find I'm holding my breath. That moment the anticipation was like liquid fire in my veins. The pounding of my heart, the heat of expectation....the contemplation of the possible...the perhaps...
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I believe anticipation is a shy thing. An experience that must be grown, cultivated, nurtured. Our current society seems to rest foundationaly on a quaking platform of instant gratification. The multitudes demand, and they receive. Do you remember the most simple desire and satisfaction as a child? Being thirsty on a trip to the store..."we'll be home soon." And that cool dulcet splash of water was delicious as it slid down your throat 20 minutes later. Now there's a convenience store on every corner to meet your immediate needs. Love that name, "convenience" store. Perhaps all of this 'convenience' is slowly eroding our ability to desire, long for...ache for something. Not just want. Wanting is the puddle, the shallow end of a two yr-old's reach for a new toy.
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Anticipation is a discipline. It takes willpower to wait. I could never hope to count how often I have children hanging on the kitchen doorway as the aromas of dinner fill the house, begging for a snack. What? I've just spent 7 hours slowly roasting and basting and carving. The bread is baking, the veges simmering....and you want crackers? I think not! My mother always said, "appetite is the best ingredient." (chuckle) Oh, how I now agree with her...being hungry, is good. No matter the subject...being hungry is delicious.
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As this holiday season is spinning about me, draping the world with brilliant lights and glittery snow...I am holding my anticipation close. Embracing the excitement, the thrill of the unknown in the sparkling packages beneath our tree, in new adventures, new horizons, sunrises. I'm swimming deep into the ocean of promise, not just for Christmas morning, but the new year. The new season before me. Learning to listen more, talk less. I am guarding my heart against the easy invasive wants that swarm us and threaten to choke. I will go hungry, I will desire, I will pause....for the taste of anticipation is succulent.

9 comments:

Maven said...

This was the perfect thing for me to read this evening. Your writing wraps intself around me like a warm blanket. Suddenly I'm in your kitchen, smelling dinner, anticipating a wonderful evening.

I agree with everything you've said. I feel sad for the children of this generation who have not ever had to wait. The waiting and the wondering is actually the fun as it turns out.

Chantel said...

In the odd chance that we outlive our men, Maven, please be my neighbor when we're crazy old ladies? I'll make soup and you'll make bread and we'll sit on the porch and have wonderful conversation and laughter...

Su said...

And I'll bring wine, okay?
Thanks so much for your words! You are right --I do LOVE our picture! It is perfect. You were so right -- and never doubted! I cherish it. It takes my breath away every single time I look at it. He takes my breath away every single time I think of him. Thank you, doll!!

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

I loved the anticipation of Christmas morning. The wonderful magical waiting for mom and dad to get up and make sure everything was perfect before letting us in to see. I have never understood unwrapping a present to find out what a present is or hunting for your gifts. Why?

I loved the anticipation of the kiss...I bet that picture came out incredible.

Chantel said...

Su--it was such a lovely day. And of COURSE you can bring the wine!

Happy Hour--I completely agree! The surprise, the wonder of it all IS the actual point.

In general, kissing is magnificent.

Mobius said...

You are very good at creating moments in your writing.

I love the word "yearn". And I feel often that I have left the days behind where I could yearn... thus I yearn to yearn. But perhaps it is part of the cycle and it shall return if I am, indeed, patient in a world of impatience.

Chantel said...

Mobius--I wonder if "yearning" is something we exchange for complacency as we age...accepting the wars we cannot change, chosing to fight only when cornered. I used to yearn to be a size smaller...now the power of cheese overwhelms me. I used to yearn to understand more...now I simply can't deal with delusional bull. lol

If you find that "yearn" trigger...share.

Dina said...

LOVE this, and again you are right on the mark. Something I have been feeling. The instant gratification generation. I am fighting it with my own kids, and I have to wonder how to make that work itself out.
Also? That pic is awesome. I have a similar one that my photographer took at my wedding unbenownst to me. Its our favorite, framed and brings me a heart swell of love/lust/ and anticipation every time I see that twinkle in our eyes, knowing we are both expressing beloved love.

Chantel said...

Dina, isn't love just absolutely grand? I mean...not every moment, not even every day. But for it's arduous journey...it just gets richer.