2024.22 : What Did We Lose?

Ciudad De México Circa 2017

Say isn’t it strange?

I am still me
You are still you
In the same place

Isn’t it strange
How people can change
From strangers to friends
Friends into lovers
And strangers again?

Isn’t it strange?

— Celeste's Album: Not Your Muse (Deluxe)

The country singer Tanya Tucker was one of my childhood obsessions. When I was just out of college, she released the hit song “If It Don’t Come Easy.” As one of those who listens to song lyrics more than the music, I was filled with the anger that curses youth. How could she send out such an awful message? I demanded an answer from myself. Here’s a sample:

“If it don’t come easy, you better let it go
‘Cause when it don’t come easy, there’s no natural flow
And if it don’t come easy, oh you gotta let it go”

These lyrics ran counter to everything I believed. To me, love meant hard work and perseverance.

Elbows up, go hard into the paint. Forgive the sports analogy.
Leave nothing on the battlefield of love. Forgive the war analogy.

Yet, as with many things, time revealed the emotional currents that shaped previous thoughts and feelings. A decade later, the lyrics still rattled around in my head. I began to understand they were closer to the truth than I had wanted to admit.

The drive for certainty drove me to learn more. For years, I’ve asked anyone happily married for more than forty years this singular question:

Was it ever hard work?

To the woman. To the man. The answer was consistently, no—it was never hard work. There’s a natural flow. But with a caveat: a tremendous amount of effort, energy, sacrifice, and attention goes into these forty-plus year marriages. Yet, this commitment is a joy, not a burden. As one interviewee analogized, “Your photography and storytelling have been decades of tremendous effort, energy, sacrifice, and attention. Has any of that made your life less?”

You all know the answer for yourself: when it comes easy, there’s no thought of letting it go.

Apologies, Tanya, for doubting.

And now… know the photograph.

Celeste - Strange (Official Video)

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