My imagination runs wild 99 percent of the time.
Wild like the horses busting free on the plains.
Wild like the flowers scattered on the landscape.
I see everything in color, no matter what decade. It is the only way my mind works.
My great great grandpa Charlie was a horse trader. A few weeks ago, we discovered this original tintype (and another) of him stashed away in a box of family photos. They are in wonderful condition on the plate, not at all indicative of being more than a century old.
I have stared at this particular photo a thousand times since the first. Likely there will be 1,000 more. I have written what seems like an entire book in my head of the events I dreamed up to surround this scene.
I often have been told I romanticize most everything in life, as if it were a bad thing. Truth is, it is the loveliest of things. It’s what keeps blood pumping and the soul hoping.
When I look at this, I see a young horse trader and his side-saddled love, out for a ride across the prairie on a Sunday afternoon. I see them basking in nature, laughing and dreaming up their lives together — not in sepia, but in full color.
I’ve written chapters in my head with every glance. The hardships and the struggles, the triumphs and the joys. I see the love between them that begat generations of hard-working, honest, generous and happy people. I see a legacy.
A simple tintype photo of two people in a field.
A priceless treasure, found in a box of keepsakes long forgotten.
A thousand romanticized thoughts.
An imagination that won’t quit, because then I would cease to feel alive.