Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?
I’ve always heard that “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but imagine my surprise after spending the day at the beach when my words were few. I stood in my second floor living room glancing through the shots on my Cannon digital. What I found was mesmerizing. Images of overturned boats on the Gulf of Mexico, many houses in ruin, and debris from those houses spread across the land displayed on the camera’s photo monitor.
“Oh My Goodness! Where did these come from?” I wondered. I racked every inch of my brain to interpret what was going on.
There are only a few shots here that I recognize taking. Where did the rest come from?
Those long walks on the beach must have rattled my brain.
Click. Click. Click, noises jetted from my camera as I examined picture, after picture, over and over again.
“Get hold of yourself, Amy,” I said aloud. Confusion wrapped its greedy little body around me, and clung as tightly as a spider wrapping its victim in silk.
“This doesn’t make sense…and then there is this picture of a family on the beach building sand castles in vintage swimsuits? There was no one on the beach when I was there. Even the wharf was empty. The storm was brewing, and the beach was as vacant as northern Alaska. Did I miss this family for my being consumed with the incoming storm? Or did the whipping Gulf Coast wind blow sand into my head? There is evidence of those gritty grains everywhere else on me.”
I sank deep into my leather-lounging chair, sand and all, and then closed my eyes. A drifting haze surrounded me, and once again I was at the beach. There, in the distance, was the young family playing in the sand. The soft cries of seagulls’, “caw, caw,” hovered over them. The circular grayish-white clouds rolling in from the Gulf didn’t cause any alarm to the family, though electricity charged the hairs on my arms. The pounding of the wind on land, and water, was stronger than I have ever remembered.
The family oblivious to the dangers around them proceeded to enjoy their time together, playing and laughing in the midst of peril. The dad in his Capri length pants and a sleeveless shirt, teasingly dropped grains of sand on the little girl. The wife and daughter in their dark dresses, and frilly bathing caps, playfully tossed sand back at the father. They all looked like something out of a 1900 Sears catalog.
“Where are the sirens?” I wondered. Why was no one here to warn them of the approaching storm?
I called out, but they couldn’t hear me because of the roar of the wind. Suddenly, the storm surge rolled over them like a runaway freight train, and they were gone…
The thumping of my heart jerked me up, and I couldn’t tell if I had witnessed a dream, deja vu, a vision, or something else. I just knew that this experience was real, and that I was there…an invisible spectator looking on.
I checked my camera again, the pictures were there…but somehow they were fading.
How could this be?
“Have I lost my flipping mind?” I asked myself.
Somehow there was a vague familiarity to all of this, but I couldn’t pinpoint where I seen this before?
I checked the photos again, and little by little they were vanishing.
“Who will ever believe me if they fade into oblivion?” I stated frantically. “I have to figure out what this means.”
I grabbed my laptop and started searching the internet voraciously. I needed to know what this was about.
After several days of searching about storms and disappearances, as well as other topics, I found a partial answer. Somehow, this all had to do with the Great Galveston Hurricane which occurred on September 8, 1900. It was one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit our country, and thousands of people died.
The answer became obvious when I saw an exact photo of the family building sand castles on the beach before the storm began. This photo, posted by a relative, claimed that the family was among the missing after the storm.
My “where” became known, but my “what, why, and “how” remained a mystery. I knew the history now, but I never knew the rest. What brought this about? Why was I chosen to see this? And how did it happen? Though I may never know, it does help me to understand that even when “pictures are worth a thousand words,” sometimes words are best left unspoken. So for now, “mum’s” the word.
(c) Copyright 2017 BG Jenkins
Footnotes: On September 8, 1900 one of the deadliest hurricanes hit Galveston, Texas. It’s believed that 6,000 people lost their lives…and some claim as many as 12,000 when all was over. If you’re interest in more facts on this subject, here are some other links:
Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words