Earlier this month when I was downtown photographing the Christmas be-bulbed trees along Main Street, I snapped this photo of a vintage fire truck, part of a passing procession I later learned was headed toward the funeral of a retired firefighter. When I composed the shot, the truck was perfectly centered in my viewscreen; by the time my digicam captured the image, though, the truck had moved off center.

Reviewing the photo when I got home, I considered cropping it, but something in me liked the off-center composition. At first, I thought it was the diagonal balance of truck and branching tree, but ultimately I decided that it was the sign for Earth Treasures, a downtown store selling beads, polished stones, and science-themed gifts and toys, that I found aesthetically pleasing. If I cropped the photo with the truck as its focus, I’d lose the sign. If I kept the photo as-is, I’d retain the visual trinity of truck, tree, and background facade.

Last night at the brink of sleep, I realized what I’d liked about that sign: Earth Treasures. The name of Keene’s local bead and trinket shop contains within it the English name of Ji Jang Bosal, also known as Jizo or Ksitigarbha, the “Earth Treasure” Bodhisattva whose name Buddhist mourners chant when a loved one dies. How fitting that my shutter-snapping eye instinctively knew to capture the accidental sight of a funeral-bound firetruck rolling past the Earth Treasure’s eye.