The first day of the rest of my life…

Jan 3, 2012 marked a new beginning for me.  I was a couple of days later than the rest of world, nothing that usual for me.  I finally figured it all out… For as long as I can remember I have dreamt about becoming a travel photographer.  I can imagine how amazing I will feel to see the frames of the world through my camera lens.  I know I’ll be able to capture the elderly grandmother with twinkling eyes and the tears welling up in a downcast child.  I will show you the hardened lava rock of the mountains and the birds gliding through curvy, dense trails.  I will bring the colors of the clown fish to your eyes as though you were right there with them.  You will run wild through the endless fields and huddle in a back alley of Chinatown. My photography will show the world to you through my vision and creation.

And to sweeten the deal of my dream life: bonus number 2:  To Write.  Photography and Writing.  My two greatest passions!  (Passion means that you’re ‘in the moment’, baby!)  At the end of an incredible day on my job, I will sit down and write everything I can remember about it, in my own words. You will the see the little clouds of dust from the children’s bare feet as they play double dutch in the schoolyard.  As you read my blogs you’ll see the contrast between Auntie Mae’s brittle, white hair (it’s actually almost yellow) against the thick, dark green backdrop of the mountains. Someday.  Someday I will, before I get too old, as soon as I have enough…  Money?

Well, better not go there right now.  That little phrase, “someday I’ll be… rich…” you whisper so humbly beneath your breath (well, maybe a little humble).   You tilt your head with a confident nod and feel justified that finally, finally someone thinks you’re special enough to pay you to do what you love; take amazing pictures and write funny, but informational blogs as I travel the world 🙂    I image just enough money to have a comfortable little home next to the ocean, but close enough to a mountain too.  Tsunamis scare me.    No, scratch that plan… unless my daughter wants to live in the little 7 room cottage while her mama is traveling around the globe living her dream.  Finally.  hehehe.

So, for the time being, my dream is on ‘temporary hold’ waiting for sufficient funding, which if I work, work, work I will get there.  I can hear my dead mother’s sarcastic tone, “why are you whining? nothing is ever served on a silver platter!”  I know.  I know. So, I have to put in the time for that dream.

It’s not that I have a lousy job, anymore, no, no, no. I’m doing exactly what I love; photography. Granted, I don’t make very much money, but I’m optimistic that will change very soon.  You see, I work hard.  I work s-oo faithfully at it my career, I struggle with it and study it and squirm through some trials and a lot of errors with it.  And still, I’m not completely satisfied.  But~ release me from the computer and business management and money issues… N-o-w I can fly free with my camera in hand. Now, we’re talking. My Canon D7 has become my trusted friend. (Honestly, I’ve learned to trust my spirit to ‘guide my hand’ as I twirl the camera’s dials:)   Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment?  Hmf?  that could totally screw up my slogan.  I don’t need to delay my dream forever with little (and big) mistakes.

I will make a living doing what I love.  Bonus number #1 in my life is photography and my portrait photography is fulfilling that dream. I feel so blessed to have had so many beautiful people in front of my camera.  Oh, I could go on and on about the friends I have made through a simply photo session.  These people are amazing. Take Lila for instance. She’s has the most knockout red hair and green eyes within this face that can be photographed from any angle!  Now, that’s amazing!  And she never knew it.  It seems unbelievably to me that some of these people  don’t realize how special they are; in both beauty and soul. The laugh of a toddler, why  that twinkle in their eye is a sparkle from that child’s soul.  Lily, my little 19 month-old granddaughter, every time I see her smile, I smile too, and when she laughs, my god, talk about love!

The last few weeks have been busy for me.  Two weeks before Christmas, I got photo jobs one after another, although there were more freebies than paying clients.  I should be able to tell you exactly how much money I made from the accounting books, but I can’t, at this exact moment.  I wish I had a running tally of all the people I have photographed, damn, if I had a proficient office manager I could tell give that information right now, too.  Life can be such a fantasy to reality let-down for me.   Work. Work. Work.

If not editing photographs or determining the best way to spend my last dollar or creating marketing ideas and reading an occasional travel blog just to keep my dream alive, (plus a thousand and one other things) I am usually stuck among the chaos my in office. Last week I didn’t have one shoot scheduled.  I was discouraged, but continued to work day and night in the office.  I joined Twitter. I joined LinkedIn and other social networking sites.  Wow, now those take time.  I wrote more profiles, wondering why I couldn’t just cut and paste. I was asked to describe my first human memory for another social site.  What? What’s that about?  (So I wrote about my brother stealing my baby bottle when I was about 2 years old. No wonder I was a sick, skinny kid. Somehow I lost the post before I got to post it!)   It was all too damn time-consuming, as well as struggling through other office tasks, life hasn’t been very favorable lately. The daylight dwindles by slowly every day..except when I babysit Lily…

Last week I had her two full days!  It was heaven, even though I felt guilty that I wasn’t getting my new marketing projects completed.  So, I worked in my little cluttered office all weekend to make up for it.  Work. Work. Work.  No silver platter for me. My plan today was the usual, with a bit of twist.  I would get up, check my phone and email messages for any new jobs or leads, respond if needed, then go make a cup of coffee.   Soon after, get back to work on my projects for about four hours in the morning, then I planned on cleaning my bedroom.  I mean deep cleaning, ladies, vacuuming up the cobwebs in corners of the closets and pulling everything out from under the bed!  My moto of the day: creating a designated home for every item… and if there isn’t room or I don’t like it anymore… out it goes… donation or trash.  I like doing jobs that say, “Donna’s been here”  haha, I know a couple of men… another area where I shouldn’t linger.  Moving on…

My beautiful, 8-month along pregnant daughter left me a voice message that I listened to before I started anyting; “Mom, have you looked outside?”  It’s a fantastic day.  What are you doing?”  Pause as I explain my plan. “You need to get out of the house. Do you mind coming over for a few hours to stay with Lily so I can go out?”  Of course, I knew what she was up to.  But, I figured why not, just a few hours and I will have all evening to do ‘office work’.

I left the house and got inside my little, white Honda Civic.  My daughter was right, today was beautiful.  Picture perfect. Blue sky with little puffs of clouds floating by.  The air felt warm on my face.  The breeze was soft.   The heat was stifling as I unrolled the windows, trying not to inhale all those poisonous, cancerous gases expelled from the hot dashboard (or that’s what I’ve heard anyway).  I put it in reverse and backed down the driveway, carefully, so as not to scratch the landlord’s shiny, blue pick-up as I manuevered around it.

I love the drive to Angie’s home.  You have to drive up Kamehameha Hwy to get to her home on the windward side of the island in Ka’a’awa, Hawaii. The Ko’olau Mountain range is on your left side, standing tall with deep, vertical ridges covered in lush greenery. That mountain range is the reason it rains so much on this side of the island, holding the moisture over the mountains.  (There is a meteorologist explanation for this, but I don’t remember it.) The richness of the windward’s tropical environment is seen throughout the landscape, green lush golf course (Ko’olau,Golf Course, a public golf club in Kaneohe)  There are  bright-colored flowers everywhere. The trees have always been my favorite; palm trees and the African-looking trees and the rain-forest looking trees.  I guess if I am really going to blog I need to learn what these trees are named.

If you take a side trip down Ko’olouRd in Kaneohe, you’ll enter a beautiful b Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens.   There are 400 acres of geographically laid out botanic garden with endangered and rare plants, network of trails to facilitate visitor enjoyment and a 32-acre lake (no swimming)  You should plan on spending some time, especially with your family and camera.  Again, take note, dear self, it would be good to have a few interesting facts about this place.  God, is this your first time blogging, girl?  I know, easy, peasy… let’s me link information to you, the reader:  http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/hmbg.htm

The ocean today is relaxing, soft, low waves gently rolling in as I pass Kualoa Ranch.  Now, this place is great. I’ve been there a few times, but from this day forth I will have available, personal information… today a link: http://www.kualoa.com/ My daughter got married at this ranch, on the second terrace overlooking the ocean, two and half years ago.  I am so blessed to have her living only 20 minutes away with my little granddaughter… and of course, her sweet husband, too.  I count my blessing. Another five minutes up the road, the mountains on my left and the Pacific on my right I pass a local surf spot, the cars are lining the road, the surfers are either running into or out of the ocean with their boards or struggling to get them back onto the roofs of the cars… (girls bikini bottoms don’t cover much now-a- days, do they?  Damn, I sound like my mother.)  It’s obviously a good surfing day, is there some sort of an internal line to tell the troops where to rally for the good surf spots?  Must be.

Within minutes I arrive at my daughter’s place.  Lily runs towards me with a big smile.  She’s was helping her mommy in the backyard with nothing but a diaper on.  Oh, and she’s all lubed up… and so is my daughter.  Her tight, round belly carrying my soon-to-be born grandson is leaning downwards as she helps Lily rub in the sunscreen on her chubby little cheeks. Angie decided that since the waves are breaking so great, just minutes away, she could probably handle one more surf.  (She surfed Christmas day, too, and said that would the last until the baby is settled in.)  Obviously her passionate spirit equals mine, but I trust her level-headed decisions, as well.  Although I expressed my motherly concerns about the risks, about her baby, the what ifs and the you better be carefuls, I knew she wouldn’t take any unnecessary chances.  And she didn’t.  She laid low, paddled slowly on her knees, stayed away from the other surfers and caught only the gently, easy waves.  At least that’s what she told me!  Only kidding, I know her, she has wise decision-making skills.  (Why… I remember a few years back, she insisted I wear a helmet when I went down the white water rapids in California with her and her boyfriend as guides… and when I went over Devil’s Hole I understood why.)

Lily and I went to the beach.  We drove a little further up the highway, there was more traffic than usual because it was a Monday holiday (a holiday for employees just because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year).  There wasn’t any parking at the Ka’a’awa Beach Park, (there’s only room for a few cars anyway near the restrooms) but there was no street parking across from the Ka’a’awa Elementary School.  I love it when I see a classroom of kids walk across the street with the teachers guiding them and then run into the ocean, screaming and splashing.  How much fun is that during or after school?  I drove another 2 minutes and found a parking spot within a few steps to the beach. It’s takes a bit of work to get the bag of beach toys, towels, mat, baby and camera bag loaded up with a precise strategy so nothing falls, especially Lily (she must weigh 30 lbs.)  Lily loves the ocean as much as I do.  Whenever I do sit here I wonder why don’t I do this every day?  This is so beautiful.  This is paradise.

Lily is filling her pail and I snap a few pictures before I pack away the camera so we can build a sandcastle. (Sand and cameras are not a good mix.) The time we spend together is precious to me.  I am so blessed to have this darling, little girl to love.  We played in the turquoise water.  She says so many words now and cold is one of them, which she concluded was the temperature of the ocean, but I thought it was refreshing as we splashed and kicked our feet.

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There was another family a short distance away. A local family with about five kids, ranging from pre-school to young adolescents, they were all playing together enjoying the last day of their Christmas school vacation. Another young family was on the other side of me.  A woman with three young children, two little boys about 4 and 5 and a sweet, little blond girl about 2 years-old.  Children are so uplifting to watch as they run and play and laugh.  Not a care in the world.  They are living in the moment.  There is nothing more that they would rather do than run and play and laugh. Their father had been out spear fishing near-by and brought in an octopus.  I walked over with Lily to look at his catch closer.  The father was showing his son where to place his fingers in the octopus’ head so he could hold it for me to take a picture.   The boys posed, standing proud as though they caught the octopus themselves.  They both gave me the shaka (which is a common hand motion in Hawaii; thumb and baby finger extended, all others tucked inside – it’s an aloha greeting and thank-you, too).

Wow, what’s that? I said to Lily.  The answer was: lunch, which their mother said is very good with a little flour batter and then fried. The kids seemed pretty excited about the catch, as well as lunch. I watched them put the fishing gear in the wagon, along with the bucket carrying the octopus, and the three kids skipping along heading down the beach to their home; their lunchtime.  All in the moment.  Passionate about life. Out in the ocean was a small, heavy-duty, blue plastic kayak just drifting before the  breaking waves, a person was stretched out enjoying the sunshine, the water, the moment. Passionate about life. I am living in paradise.

This is Bonus #2 right before my eyes.  I don’t have to dream about being a travel photographer ~ I am one.  All I had to do was stop dreaming, start living and my dream became my reality. My first day of the rest of life was today.  No more long office hours promoting and marketing and struggling.  Oh, I know I have to put in some hours, but now I have to focus on my real dream, which is my living life in the moment.  I am passionate about life. Today I took the next step and wrote this blog.  I can blog about every nook and cranny, and a lot of other things, too.  Hawaii has so much to tell you through my eyes and words.  I will capture Hawaii’s spirit in photographs and on my blogs.

This is my first assignment.  I’ll stay in paradise until my next destination arises.  Well, I could go on and on …  But, if I don’t get to bed, I won’t have any energy for tomorrow’s adventure, whatever it may be… I will share with you.  Aloha.

2 thoughts on “The first day of the rest of my life…

  1. Photography is something I really desire to learn more about and turn into a hobby. You look like you really have a knack for it! All the pictures from my beach make me miss my family vacation, especially in these cold winter months of Pennsylvania!

    • Stephanie,

      Thank you for your reply. You should take out your camera right now, if you don’t have one, go buy one; it doesn’t have to be real expensive to start, and start shooting. I’ve been to Pennsylvania and it’s beautiful there, even the winter. Start reading photography books or join a club. Just do it and before you know it, you’ll be taking great shots at the beach again (the beach doesn’t close during the winter) bundle up and go exploring there. Have fun and capture the spirit of the moment!

      Donna Welch, photographer and (writer!)
      Capturing the Spirit… of the moment.
      http://www.donnawelchphotography.com

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