There are moments that feel like dreams. Where you take a deep steady breath in and think to yourself, (or if you feel safe enough in the surrounding company), “This. This is my life. My strange, wonderful, beautiful and connected life.” As I unwind, both literally and figuratively, from a weekend retreat with a tribe of fellow photographers, I hear the echo of this sentiment over and over again in my mind.
This is not a dream. This is my life. This moment. This now.
After coffee had warmed and awakened our bodies, we made our way to the edge of the continent. We waded through waist high grass to get there. It’s golden- greens brushing our legs gently with a damp caress and whisper of, “Hello”. The soft sand squished under my boots, the wind kissed my face reminding me I was truly alive and awake. I looked up, paused and saw my sweet friend Deb looking small along the path, and yet, there she was, holding so much space with her presence and heart.
We slowed and watched the blades of grass. She asked, even though she didn’t have to, “Do you mind if I stop to take a video”?
I am a mom and a photographer too. I can’t count how many moments I have passed by because of those sweet little humans around me that weren’t patient enough for me to take in what I wanted to. “Yes, yes of course. Take your time, we have nowhere but here to be.”
That was part of why were here. To have that ‘no where to be’ time. Space to capture small dreamy moments like the one we were embracing right then. I watched as she fell into the zone of creating. Watching an artist at work is pure magic, and one of my most favorite things to do. But you all probably don’t need me to tell you that.
Once we came out of the dunes and onto the beach, we followed the line of the sea foam left behind by the surf. It’s iridescence shimmering in the subtle Oregonian daylight. We found small shells and pocketed smooth wishing stones as we wandered and talked. I switched over from my digital camera to my Polaroid, and the mood shifted from green to blue. The dreamy quality of how I was capturing the day was still there, but I felt the adjustment from terrestrial to aquatic as I peeled back that first image. Again, I watched and photographed as Deb behind her own lens. The waves set the rhythm for the moments. I felt so loved and so accepted by the world around me. We giggled and ran away from the sudden splash of water that a big wave caused. It startled us silly from our dreamy state of mind. Once the water had receded, we found our images mirrored in the wet sand where reflections were looking back at us and smiling- big giant backwards smiles from the other side of the looking glass.
Keep chasing your light, Vanessa Simpson