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Trusting the Images: Vapor flirting and flitting

[Editor's note: Say hello to David Mitchel (no stranger to many of you). David is a lawyer in central Virginia and I choose to withhold all possible lawyer jokes in this introduction. When he isn’t practicing law, he's often on stage in Appomattox or brandishing a stringed instrument. Give him a warm welcome and check out this great post.]

When the purport of the images—what they say to our fear and hope and will and affections — seems to conflict with the theological abstractions, trust the purport of the images every time. —C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer 52 (1963)

A man wakes up on a misty morning. He looks out his window and likes what he sees. So he dresses and walks out his door to enjoy what has been given him.

The mist doesn’t last long.  But while it lasts it softens the edges of the world, brings out its colors, and dances with the shafts of light from the rising sun.

And then it vanishes. The man emits a satisfied sigh. God makes everything beautiful in its time.(1)

I can imagine another man—say, a photographer—waking up the same morning, somewhere in the same vale, seeing the same mist, the same light, the same landscape. Recognizing the aesthetic value of what he sees, he runs to find his camera. He rushes out his door, and looks for just the right place to best capture the dance of mist and light and landscape, the viewpoint from which mist and light and landscape appear to greatest advantage. He experiments with a few different lenses, and snaps a few pictures to preserve the morning’s beauty for posterity—to preserve the past for the future.