It’s not the first time I’ve nearly passed on a momentous experience but happily went ahead. This time it was a trip to the coast with my daughter that I nearly declined because of work and chores. Ultimately, I agreed to go and the next day she came with her minivan.
We chattered the whole way there and back about subjects of mutual interest in between the diversion of her regulating the back row of grand children whose ages span nine years between the oldest and youngest. An even younger one sat quietly amusing herself in the middle row where her seat was the only one installed.
The countryside through which we passed was lush as only new spring leaves allow, with the lighter green tones on the soft pillowed hills. No clouds anywhere. It was warm and nice. When we arrived, the sand was inviting to bare feet rather than scorching. The ocean was not the freezing thing I remembered. The water was clean with none of the dirty brown froth or dead sea things and I got to finally try the line, “hey buddy, ya got a light” when I asked a smoker to help us ignite the cook stove for lunch.
The children were as happy as you can imagine. I positioned myself between them and the incoming waves, willing to take on water to get the view of their faces toward the sun and surf rather than the normal photos of black figures facing away while they played the game of out running incoming waves.
They liked to stand still to experience the retreat of the water and the corrosion of sand beneath their toes as the particles were pulled out with the waves.
Back on land the littlest girls climbed a sand hill and filled a bucket of water with the sparkling granules. Every one was happy.
People drove on the hard pack with big trucks ever so slowly. Some walked enormous dogs. Little children were thrilled with it all and it showed on their faces. College waifs lined up on a perch to watch, faces hidden behind sun glasses. Old people with fat bellies and spindly legs walked hand in hand in the middle ground between dry and shimmering expanses.
Little children scavenged bits of shell and crab legs.
Boys and girls climbed among the skeleton of a steel shop that crashed there over a hundred years before.
I snapped a thousand photos.
The happy chatter in the car all the way home topped off the fun satisfyingly. Our tiniest traveler sat fully awake looking contented instead of crashing to sleep as anticipated.
As I processed all those photos I realized why people stage pictures and pose people. It gets to the desired place faster and with less trouble, but only if the photographer can direct the subjects in a way that preserves the great atmosphere.
I’ll remember forever, and to think it almost didn’t happen! It was glorious : )