Absent From the Replay

The following work is adapted from an in-class essay  I wrote based on The Vacation, a poem written by Wendell Berry.

The Vacation

by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.
The Vacation, written by Wendell Berry, is an interesting poem. This piece  introduces a whole new perspective about vacations. It is not your typical piece describing warm, sandy beaches and clear blue seas.”Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.” This introductory sentence stands out in a strange way. Most poems don’t start out like a story book. Instead of slowly revealing his purpose, the author lays it all out in the first sentence telling the reader everything he or she needs to know. The main subjects in this poem are the man’s camera and his vacation. This video camera captures the sights he catches glimpses of while on vacation: the river, the trees, the sky, the light, and the bow of his boat. The man was always behind the camera. He was never able to experience his vacation firsthand.
The poem gradually becomes more and more impersonal. The man who filmed his own vacation referred to his vacation as “it,” nine times. He talks as if “it” were someone else’s vacation and he was just an outside viewer with the privilege of a sneak peek.
The man becomes melancholy when he comes to the realization that with a click of a button, his vacation would appear right before his eyes. However, he would forever be absent. Never would he have the privilege of watching himself enjoy his vacation.
In Front of the Lens
I thought this would be appropriate  to post on the #Fourth #of #July<–see what I did there?! Summertime. It’s when so many of us struggle to capture those “perfect” pictures of those “perfect” moments via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and whatnot. While I have nothing against beautiful pictures and other memorabilia, I do believe that some occasions are meant to savor in the moment. Don’t constantly be “the man who filmed his vacation.” As I sit here writing this, there appeared in the sky, a single floating lantern. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, dared to perturb its glorious conquest. The floating lantern, resembles enviable boldness and bravery. This majestic vessel leaves in the dust a spray of fireworks, which we often interpret as the bigger and better show. The lantern however, slowly and silently,  swims upstream. Leaving behind the noisy explosions which are soon over in a matter of minutes. For its is quest longer lasting. This thing of beauty is also meant for observation. Undergo a few strokes upstream, and move behind the lens. I understand that this action is a scary one; we live in an age of “follow the leader.” Every one of us wishes to be a leader and not a follower.  Look at the lantern’s example and Don’t be Absent From the Replay!

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