Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of these ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries - but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.
But these weren't the kind of monsters that had tentacles and rotting skin, the kind a seven-year-old might be able to wrap his mind around-they were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don't recognize them for what they are until it's too late.
I've never really been interested in the vintage photos people pay lots of money for -- civil war tintypes or old daguerrotypes of famous people. Nor do I have any interest in the really gross, dark stuff that some people pay top-dollar, like post-mortem photos of babies (yuck) or press photos of old murder scenes or whatever. I collect in these little niches most other people don't care about -- dark-and-weird-but-fun -- and photos that have been written on, which a lot of sellers think hurts their value. All of which is good news for me!
I own a few thousand snapshots, which is small by the standards of most collectors I know. I generally only buy photos I think I may actually be able to use in a book one day. I need that focus when buying, because without it I'd just buy everything and my house would be overrun with bucket loads of snapshots; there are just too many beautiful images in the world, and I'd need to own them all.
There was romance in the unknown, but once a place had been discovered and cataloged and mapped, it was diminished, just another dusty fact in a book, sapped of mystery. So maybe it was better to leave a few spots on the map blank. To let the world keep a little of its magic, rather than forcing it to divulge every last secret. Maybe it was better, now and then, to wonder.