I’ve been thinking a lot about the time I spend outside lately. More precisely, I’ve been thinking about the manner in which I share my outside experiences. Although I love to write this blog, I rely more than ever on Instagram to keep people informed on what I’ve been doing. I like Instagram for its simplicity. Just post a picture (I’m most likely taking them anyway), attach a quote, place the appropriate hashtags, and move along. No overriding theme, no paragraphs, no punctuation, no depth, no real time commitment.
The problem is that a picture is not worth a thousand words, at least not in my case. Scroll through my Instagram page and you’ll see the day’s best moment—or at least the best moment I was able to capture—filtered, edited, and prepared for public consumption. Unlike writing a blog, which can take days to produce, most Instagram posts are composed in mere minutes within hours of getting home from a day spent outside. Whether it’s my failings as a photographer or the simple fact that it’s more fun to remember skiing powder than standing in a lift line, the less-glamorous parts of the day always get left out. The hard moments. The uncomfortable moments. The dull moments. The time spent stomping feet at an icy belay trying to regain feeling in frozen toes, burying every exposed inch of skin inside your jacket on a too-long and too-cold lift ride, or that fearful moment before committing to a crux or descending a steep.
Also missing from the picture is the all the tedious shit leading up to that moment because there is nothing glamorous about pre-dawn packing, long car rides, gas station breakfasts, or long approaches. The events following that perfectly captured moment are typically unappealing as well. Although tailgate beers and celebratory burgers might sound good, the reality is that not too long after that photo was taken, I was most likely in the car rushing home to try to catch up on any of the chores and commitments I blew off for a day in the mountains. (I’m sure me cleaning the bathroom is Insta-worthy!)
Instagram is an incredible way to share our experiences. However, next time you’re scrolling through your feed, remember that you only ever see part of the story. A few years ago, I tinkered with the idea of posting a photo on this blog with a single paragraph description—an idea I keep coming back to. The issue I have is that once I start writing about the photo, I find it difficult to stop at a lone paragraph. Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words after all.