My glaring weakness as an office bound civil servant is my penchant for daydreaming. Something catches my eye, stirs a memory, and away I go… off to lands far and wide. It can happen at home just as easily as at work. In fact, I just got back from a flight from the inner realm a little earlier this evening.
The catalyst for tonight’s journey was a photograph I took on a weekend getaway, about a year before our first child was born. We spent a weekend in Ft Meyers, a stone’s throw from Sanibel Island, at a resort just across the intercostal waterway on the mainland. The photo I was looking at is right above this entry… or was when I typed this… a shot of the clouds gathering off shore, a mile or two off the beach on Sanibel Island. While the selection of that picture has significance beyond the scope of this entry, it reminds me of one of my favorite mornings of all time.
It was the first trip I took with my first SLR camera. I’d been dying to dabble in more serious photography (which I figured required something other than a point and shoot), and I had enthusiastically jumped at the chance to pick up an old Pentax that someone was giving away. As a recent college grad budgets were tight, we had aspirations of buying a house and having children, and I already had two relatively expensive hobbies (cycling and computing)… so I’d been waiting for an SLR for a long time. It’s only power requirement was a small watch battery for the light meter (everything else was manual). There was no built in, auto flash; there was no auto focus… and I loved it. If I wasn’t such a stickler for the instant gratification of digital photography, I’d probably still be using that old Pentax (out doors anyway… the external flash unit died six years ago and I just couldn’t justify the expense of replacing it).
It was the first time my wife and I had stayed in an expensive resort (we were only there because we got the room for free). As I often did in the pre-children era, I brought my bicycle along. Cheryl was planning to sleep in, and I was in the habit of taking early morning, Saturday bike rides. So just before sunrise on our first day I walked my bike out the resort lobby in my lycra outfit, my cycling cleats clicking on the ceramic tile (in case I wasn’t conspicuous enough), sporting a backpack containing my newly acquired Pentax and lenses.
I couldn’t take any pictures for about twenty minutes because of the change in temperature and relative humidity, going from the resort to the muggy early morning outdoors… all the lenses fogged right up. On other days I might have been frustrated, but it was an otherwise gorgeous Florida morning, and I set out across the deserted causeway heading out to Sanibel Island. The sun was just peaking above the horizon and I felt like I was the only person awake in the world. It was quiet. The water was calm; like a sheet of glass. I was on my bike traveling a road never before traveled, and the scenery was postcard Florida. After my camera lenses warmed up I’d stop and dismount to snap the occasional shot with the Pentax.
Put together my love of bicycling, the excitement of exploration, the serenity of my surroundings, and the fun playing with my new (long sought after) toy… and you’ve got one hell of a morning.
We don’t do that kind of thing often enough. Maybe that’s something we’ll have to change when I get better.