Time Lapse, Fifteen Years and Counting

asher-collageIt may not be the latest innovation, but TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY certainly is one of the truly indispensable techniques to come along. Capturing single frames of a scene or a location at constant intervals, then playing them out in a real-time sequence allows us to see a thing take shape in a way that otherwise would be impractical or not possible. No one’s going to sit around and watch a seedling sprout and form into a flower. Camping out across from a construction site to watch a hole in the ground erupt into a 75-story skyscraper would be impracticable.

Yet as inconceivable as that might be in our ordinary lives, time lapse positively has been my near daily experience in watching my daughter grow.

Today, she turns 15, that age when her life is consumed with playing girls volleyball and pop stars whose names I don’t recognize and studying rules of the road I’m ashamed to admit I no longer recall or practically no longer matter to me. But they matter to her now because she wants to pass that driving test; it’s like a right of passage for 15 year-olds.

“That means no left turn,” she tells me as we approach an intersection with the sign displaying a bent left arrow superimposed with a red circle and line through the middle. From the passenger seat she blurts, “Right lane coming to an end.”

“Oh, so that’s what the yellow sign means? Thanks,” I quietly think.

This mundane act of operating an automobile is a thing of fascination, or perhaps mere preoccupation, for my little one as another of her petals comes into bloom. Fifteen years now, I’ve watched with constant amazement as her life’s time lapse plays out before me. Frame by frame I watch her flower blossom.

I remember a toddler charging full tilt into my arms when I’d arrive home. I’d hoist her up, rattle her like one of my sister’s dolls and plant on her lips something we declared “the best kiss in the world!”

Then, there was the plump-legged little dancing girl in the white tights who pointed her toes east and west, held her hands in a loop above her head and mimicked a ballerina’s pose.

And how could I forget the 3 year-old swim student who fought and splashed at Miss Marci to keep from getting her own face wet and plunging into the Y’s pool.

With the lapse of time, that swimmer swims now like a dolphin. The dancer leaps and kicks with grace and precision. And no longer a toddler, the teenager sometimes walks in the other direction when I arrive and her friends are near; the best kiss in the world has been repealed and replaced with an occasional peck on the forehead.

Sweetlet has ascended tall and bright. And the things she once couldn’t do, but always has had the potential to do, she now does even as she gathers more knowledge, skill and confidence.

My one, true delight has been seeing her flower in my garden. And with that some disquiet for sure as 14 turns to 15 and the time lapse flutters rapidly on.

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