Teamwork


I was watching a YouTube video with Stevie Wonder. He was riding in a car with another celebrity, whose name I can't remember. I think the show was called Carpool Karaoke. In that show, Stevie Wonder said something that seemed so profound to me because I had never heard the expression before. He said, “teamwork makes the dream work.” That phrase made me think back on all the moments of my life when I was trying to do something. In almost every case, it was cooperation among the team members that made things successful, and it was dysfunction among the team members that made things worse. So, in my mind this quote by Stevie Wonder was absolutely accurate. Teamwork really does make the dream work.


Of course, it is possible to somehow succeed in this wild and woolly world all alone and on one's own talents. People who can do that are extremely rare. I think most of us require a team to make things happen. That's what I was thinking when I saw this photo on my hard drive. Look at those kids. The two little ones in the back are pushing while the leader in the front is pulling and the two girls are inside of the basket going for ride. This almost becomes a metaphor for life because often the idea of teamwork making the dreamwork equals someone owning a business and the team working to help that person's dream come true.


So, if we look at the photo we see the two girls as the business owners, for example, and we see the children surrounding them as the workers. Not only does this become an interesting metaphor for life, but it also represents, in many ways, Japanese society, which is very much a work-oriented society.


This could easily be a metaphor for family as well. It takes a village to raise a child, and in this case, it seems to take at least three members of the village to carry forward the two children who are in the basket. Oftentimes families are just like this with a mom and dad struggling to get by and someone ultimately coming in to lend a hand. Or perhaps the person in the front is a single parent and the two people pushing behind are helping that single parent overcome the difficulties of life in order to see the children through to the ocean shore where they will swim away to their own destinies.


Have I thought too deeply? It is, after all, just a picture. What is a picture but a collection of pixels on a sheet of paper or on a screen arranged in the way that the camera saw it when the sensor was exposed to light? But come on now! We know that it all means more than that. Of course it does. How can it not? Everything we see around us has something it wants to say. A bottle of cold water with beads of condensation around it screams through the humidity of summer , “Drink me!” When we look at photographs of people, we can see their emotion and perhaps get glimpses of what they may have been thinking at the time the picture was taken.


Photographs are slices of time preserved for as long as the disk drive lasts, or the paper doesn't fade. If we think really hard about it, not so hard as to break our brains, then we can see photographs as tiny miracles in defiance of the natural order of things. The universe was made to exist and not exist at exactly the same moment. Who you were two seconds ago is slightly different from who you are now and who you will be in two seconds time. You are simultaneously disappearing and reappearing? But the miracle of photography has allowed us to preserve a moment in the cycle. That, my dear friends, is why I'm so obsessed with taking photos. It's the idea of the impossible, the amazing, and the miraculous happening before our eyes. It's like sorcery or science fiction. I collected the photons that were bouncing off of the bodies of young children pulling a wagon. We are sitting here, in their far future, looking at the photo and wondering what it all means. I think that is phenomenal.

Speaking of meaning, if we strip away all of the poetic analysis and look at the photo for what it is, what we see is a moment in time from that day when five children went to the beach to play.



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