I felt happy because I was at the beach at sunset on December 16 and I wasn’t freezing. I was wearing shorts and was feeling very comfortable. The beach has a special meaning to me. Well, that’s true of anywhere in nature. It’s special because I feel safe, at “home”, and I am able to let go of all of the responsibilities I have put upon myself. I am truly free when I can just be there in that moment, and that moment alone.
I watched a man and his son (well that’s my assumption anyway) pump up a standup paddle board. They took turns pumping it up. When it was done, the boy wanted the man to go first. Smart boy. The man was much, much heavier than he was so if the man could do it and not sink it, then the boy would feel brave enough to go for it. The man paddled about 100 yards along the shoreline with the boy running alongside on the sand. Then the man turned around and offered to race the boy back to the start. The boy’s face lit up and he took off running and beat the man handily.
Then it was the boys turn. He climbed aboard the raft and stood up and paddled away. His face beaming. He seemed so proud and so happy and so in that moment. No another care in the world. I don’t know their story, but everyone has one and there are problems in each of our lives. But in that moment, on the beach, I just felt alive and present. Similar, I think, to how that boy felt paddling on the water. There were no outside distractions or problems. Just the pure joy of being on the board, paddling across an ocean. Focused only on standing up, balancing and paddling.
Once the sun set, the entire sky lit up like it was on fire. There were pinks, oranges and reds. The silhouette of the boats against the sky took my breath away. But I wasn’t there to capture the sunset on this day, I was there to capture a near full moon rising above the mountains behind Santa Barbara. At the precise moment the moon was to peek above the peak, a cloud laid to rest at the crest of the mountain. The moons’ brilliant light was trying to shine through. Instead, the moon does what the moon does. It kept rising and soon it was in front of the cloud. The cloud separated for the moon to shine through and that was my moment. Or so I thought.
This was the exact moment I had waited for on the beach for the past 30 minutes. I got into position, set my camera just right and then just like that everything came crashing down. Romero had decided it was time to get some love and attention. This was his precise moment. The one he had been waiting for on the beach for the past 30 minutes. “Pet me, love me, pet me, love me”, he was saying with his nose nudging up under my arm, which had the effect of knocking my camera to the sand.
The moon kept rising and I pet him, kissed him and loved him and then asked him to please lay down for just 5 seconds. He complied and so while the moon had risen a few more degrees, I was able to capture this image. To me, it’s perfect. I will always remember it as this story, not just a picture. Ro needed attention and what is more important than that – he got it and by giving him that moment, the clouds cleared just a bit more, allowing this image to become a reality.
I could have been upset with Ro, but really, if you know Romero, you know that it is darn near impossible to be upset with that adorable face. When you look into his big brown eyes, he is so hard to resist. All he needed and wanted was to be center of attention for that moment. Sometimes I need just that much attention and so by giving it to him, I also got it in return. I love these moments and I love living in the moment.