Two thousand and nine… Unlike the past new years filled with aspiration and ambition, I wished for health and simple happiness.
Right off the bat, I was happy to leave the snowy and cold Seattle to go to Monterey for a database conference. Rubbing shoulders with some of the most famous people in the industry accompanied by an open tap and sunshine made the trip a vacation. I took the opportunity to have dinner with my ex who happens to live in SF. I was hesitant at first but I thought once a friend, always a friend. Why not? Well, I guess the visit was not nearly as genuine as it had set out to be. As we saw and at dinner, I felt confirmed over and over, that the break up was for the better. Is it because there is no love any more? Or more likely, we all have changed. As a result of meeting an ex that was just getting over a flu, I got infected. That was the price one pays for finding confirmation from the past. Should I have met up with my ex? Is there a point to it all still? What about empathy and humanity?
I was curled up in my hotel room for the next two days waiting for Pierre to arrive. By then, I was beginning to feel alive. We rented a car and drove up and down the coast. We went far up to Pescadaro passing Santa Cruz, Big Basin and had excellent seafood at Duarte’s. We traveled down to San Sameon past Big Sur where a brown cup of nasty water costed $5.50. (Such bad coffee was a disgrace to the natural beauty around.) Along the way, we wondered why we “choose” to live in Seattle when there is obviously a better, sunnier option down south. Well, grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
I had seen a picture of a gorgeous natural bridge on Flickr at some point. Mistaken it to be in Big Sur, We drove south from Monterey towards Big Sur. We found natural bridges alright but nothing grand and spectacular like the Flickr photo. Frustrated and disappointed, I consulted the Flickr photo again, realizing I was fooled by the title “portal to big sur” but it was actually shot in Santa Cruz. So we decided to head back north, passing Monterey for Santa Cruz. California coastline highway was impressive and grand. We fell in love with the rolling Salina hills and Big Sur bluffs in sunrise.
We did make it to Santa Cruz just in time for sunset. We found the rock “with a hole.” To our dismay, it was on a tiny little beach in the city. The beach was designated Natural bridges state park even though there was only one natural bridge. Not too far to the left of the rock in the photo was a bluff and stop sat a parking lot. There was no sense of nature really. We took some shots regardless since the lighting was gorgeous. The photos were beautiful but they disguise the lack of romance of the place.
It was then I learned a very important lesson for a photographer. Photography is an art not because it captures truth. It’s about creating beauty. A picture is made, not shot, to give a different perspective, transcend an emotion, provoke an idea.
In hindsight, the trip was just what I needed. I am discovering life: it’s not about pure ideals. Happiness is at its best when kept simple and real. So what if the natural bridge wasn’t as romantic as I had thought. What mattered was acceptance of the reality and make the best out of it.