No Matter Where We Go
Photo Essay by Rae Anwar
If I could choose a place, frozen in time, that I could waste away an eternity in, this scene would be set before me:
I would relive my childhood days on this beach, at this age, with these faces. Only six are pictured, but all eleven were there. My three brothers, two sisters, and myself at five years old were transforming a fallen lifeguard stand into a makeshift playground. My mother laughed behind the lens as she captured the moment. My two older brothers were probably far off in the waves, farther than I was ever allowed to go, and my oldest sister was undoubtedly stretched out over the sand with shades concealing her eyes, leaving an unfortunate tanline.
A time when I was too oblivious to worry about next week. Or next year. All of my worries were packed into a pin-shaped box that consisted solely of avoiding horseflies and the dinner choice of shrimp or crab. I didn’t have a known future, and I didn’t need one.
This was my world. Our summer tradition. A trip away from paved roads and brick homes to a sand castle on the shore. We’d crash through waves that chilled our bones, then run across blistering sand with open arms to the stinging warmth.
I liked living in a world of oblivion. A place of youth and innocence. A place I thought I could always return to, that would always remain a drive away. But time can be an evil thing. It creeps in silence, aging us overnight. Pushing us further and further until we’re states apart.
My oldest brother is now thirty two. Our family is scattered. Six in Arkansas, three in Maryland, one in California and another in Japan. Smiling, sunburnt faces replaced with college and careers and “can’t come visit.”
I look back on these photographs because it keeps me grounded. It brings my spiraling thoughts back down to reality. Even though I may never return to my sand castle oasis, I can have hundreds of homes, hundreds of miles apart. I have a home in San Francisco with my sister, in Maryland where my childhood rests, and in countless places to come.
We can stay connected to the people we love through the memories embedded in our brains. Memories that remind us of simpler times and settle our thoughts. Memories that will last for years to come, no matter where we go.
Rae Anwar is a Low Caliber co-founder. She is currently studying communications and art. In her free time, Rae likes to take photos and drink coffee. You can find her photos @raeanwarphoto