19 Feb / Writing 28 Days: Noticing

I’m in the midst of moving programs and data from one laptop to another, while at the same time trying to heavily reorganise and lightly delete some photos of the 276 GB I’ve currently got. Most of those (188 GB) are in a folder called Places, below which are many subfolders — and to think that in the past two years of pandemic time the only high-level subfolders I’ve touched are New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.

The next biggest chunk (64 GB) is the Garden folder with its place/year (since 1992) subfolders.

Which leaves photos of family, friends, dogs, cat, houses, memes, comic strips, book excerpts, occasions and events, food, webinar and zoom slides, etc., as the leftover 24 GB. It’s pretty obvious that travel & exploring places, and spending time in the garden predominate, and certainly they reflect how I spend a lot of my time. On the other hand, I usually resist taking out the camera/phone when socalising and even at most events like weddings and parties

Sometimes I wish I had taken a lot more photos when I was younger, of people, animals, places, houses, events. I never, for example, took any photos at the pool where I spent thousands of hours with friends between 4th and 6th grade. I took no photos at any K-12 school I attended. No photos (or a miniscule handful) of any streets I wandered on foot and bike day in and day out throughout childhood. I’d love to look at those missing photos now; I bet they’d bring back strong place memories.

I must have thousands of photos of virtually empty beaches, taken because I felt something significant there that I wanted to capture, as impossible as that is.

All this to say my mind is focused on photo organization and file structures now. Here’s some of what I’m noticing today (and will be for days to come, given how slow this work is):

the flaws in my file design, and the duplicate photos with different names and in multiple folders

how inconsistent I am in naming files, despite trying hard to be consistent

what and who has mattered to me over the years — what and who I’ve focused on

what I thought was funny and don’t anymore

where and how I’ve met the friends I have now, as I subdivide the “Friends” folder by pre-college, college, and various towns we’ve lived since, as well as groups (book groups, gardening groups, poetry groups, ad hoc groups) where we’ve become friends … I have a subfolder for friends met through social media, including in and through a bulldog rescue group

how painful it still is to come across probably the last photo I took of our dog Gretchen before she died, from June 2014

how good the paint on my 1998 Honda Civic looked even a few years ago

that we often walk the same NH trails over and over (which I like) but there are many slightly farther afield that we’ve walked only once or twice and could add to our repertoire again

how I keep photos that have no emotional or aesthetic significance to me because I might need them to illustrate a blog post — when I search my photos to match themes or topics, I’m often surprised (happily) by what pops up and how apt it is, but these do add to the digital bulk

how much great fish I’ve had at restaurants over the years!

how this garden has changed so much in the twelve years we’ve lived here, and what a wide variety of insects and birds visit or live here

how many photos I take in art museums, and how I miss going to museums

how much I miss visiting Jekyll Island, Cape Cod, Rehoboth Beach, Savannah, Longwood Gardens, even Boston, and visiting friends and family in Baltimore, Fernandina Beach, Burlington VT, Maine, New York City, Virginia. And taking train trips!

how sitting all day, with no outdoor time and very little movement indoors, takes a discernible toll on how I feel physically and mentally even within 8 hours; how difficult and taxing it would be to live like this most days.

that the weight of memories in photographic form — hundreds streaming across my vision at once — is heavy, but I have no inclination to delete most of them

featured image: Setting up a new computer in 2017 — but then I simply wholesale moved everything over without cleaning anything up. It’s very tempting to do that again, but it will only compound the data problem.

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