It was a lazy Saturday afternoon. The sun was beating down on my leaf-strewn yard and few creatures were moving among the trees.

From my vantage point in the office, I could see a couple of our cats occasionally walk past the open door but it was done with no sense of urgency. So, I knew they were all feeling the lazies as well.

I picked up the camera and went for a stroll around the yard, figuring I hadn’t shot the cats in a while and today would be a good day for it.

So, without much by way of planning, I just meandered around among the trees and shot whatever caught my eye.

The best of what I got is at the end of the blog and if you are a cat-lover like me, you might enjoy the shots. Otherwise, just skip to the cardinal in the last few. That very last shot is a compilation of four and the total time from stationary to his last position in the shot was only 1 second.

Birds are amazing little creatures. Although I think the cats see them in a somewhat different light.

Hope you enjoy!

Anyway, snapshots aren’t really my thing. Or at least, not with my camera. Like most, I think I defer to my phone for such pics.

We take snapshots on the spur of the moment, not really placing much importance on the actual image … simply trying to briefly capture a moment.

If we believe we are taking an important photograph, we normally reach for the camera (if we have one) or at the very least orchestrate the shot with the phone to where we give the shot the best of chances to be something special.

And that is actually what got me thinking about the whole snapshot concept. Not so much as it pertains to photographs but as it pertains to life.

You see, much of life is a casual string of events. Things that really just fill our days but don’t really add up to the important moments in life.

They might be our journeys to and from work, our weekly trip around the grocery store, a quiet night in watching TV.

When we try to recall them, our memories are vague and often incomplete. For example we might recall running for and just missing the last bus that could get us to work on time. But would we remember catching a bus that actually did get us there on time?

We might remember getting the last box of Rice Krispies on the shelf at Publix, but would we remember how many boxes were there if there was a bunch?

The point is, we choose to commit things to memory or not based on the importance that we assign them at the time. Unfortunately assigning the importance later is of no help to the memory creation process, which is why during the police interview a week later, we can’t describe the serial killer that sat on the bus next to us all the way home.

If, however, he puked or farted, you might have a better chance at remembering he was a white male in his mid-thirties with short hair and a tattoo on his neck.

Snapshots in life are the tiny details that we glibly remember without any great detail. However, real memories are the perfectly framed, in-focus image we have formed of something special that happened to us.

You might remember that soft little twinkle she had in her eyes as she made it clear she was open to being kissed. You might remember the excitement and joy of that moment when your team won the SuperBowl. You might remember the smell of your mother’s stew and how it gave you a feeling of a warm home on a cold winter night.

Choosing between memories and snapshots in life is an easy task but it requires that we are observant. It requires that we not let the important things in life pass us by. That we pause when we hear a child cry, that we stop and smell the roses, that we breathe-in deeply the smell of the stew working its way down the hall to our bedroom.

When we revisit our lives in later moments and we look to draw solace or inspiration from our past, it is our real memories that will provide sustenance to us, not the glib snapshots.

We owe it to ourselves and to the people we love to commit as much of our experience with them to memory. Taking time with them for granted and just periodically taking brief snapshots of our time together sells short our experience with them.

When they are gone from our lives, is often when many of us realize how few memories we created with them. I don’t expect it of children, to be able to fashion their memories with their parents, but if you are an adult and are not savoring moments with yours, then shame on you. And at the end of the day, you become the loser.

Forming memories is the cornerstone to building our life experience. From the moment we are born until the moment we draw our last breath, life presents us with a series of event that we can either record or ignore.

Choosing to ignore something or someone of importance reduces our life experience and is a major source of sadness in our later years.

Yet all it takes is a simple recognition of the moment as we live it and then a frequent initial recalling and sharing of it, until it is committed as a solid memory.

It’s that easy. Very little effort and the payback is enormous in later years.

… just a thought.