Dave and I pull over yet again. Why even bother to re-mount my bike? A murky pond, its brown water choked with lily pads graced by the occasional white blossom, stops us. A flock of gulls hovering over the water, rising as one, then sweeping low with a wave of speckled wings, catches our eye. Spires of yellow goldenrod arching from green thickets bid us pause. A simple clapboard church, stark against blue sky, beckons us to brake for a closer look. We pass the camera between us, each not convinced the other sees just what we see, exactly the rock, ripple, or wildflower we want to include in the picture. With the camera in tow, we perceive the wonder that is always there in lichens, crisp chestnut leaves, or a clutch of Queen Anne’s lace.
Our artist friend, Peter Hussey, often paints details, a full canvas devoted to a roof gable or porch railing. And when our kids were little, Dave would draw a mystifying close-up and challenge Tucker and Casey to identify it. “A stone wall? A cave? A bridge?’ They would guess.
“My nostril.” Dave would reply.
So, there is art and surprise in noticing details, and when I spot stacks of bowls beneath a lace curtain framed in a window, I drop my bike and ask Dave for the camera.
In a recent issue of Yankee magazine, a photographer relayed a tip that influenced her for decades: “don’t forget shadows,” so I’ve sought to note them as well. And this morning, after breakfast, when Dave and Nelson sat in green rockers on the porch playing guitars, it was their shadows that sent me seeking the shot.
But it was friends, not photography, that brought us to Block Island. As we have for years, Dave and I boarded the Point Judith ferry – snapping, as we pulled out, a few photos of fog draped cottages – to meet friends, some of whom we have known for over forty years.
Art, Janet, Nelson, Steve, and Deb figure in photos taken during muddy quad football games at Trinity College in the seventies, in wedding pictures, and long-ago summers on the Cape, when all of us had long hair past our shoulders. Len and Joan held our kids as babies in the early eighties, and as their godparents, have been diligent in providing religious guidance… Well, maybe not. In recent years, Ann, Moo, Mary, and Cisco have joined us, friendships stretching back decades, but newer to our annual island retreat.
There have been times when this sojourn was an escape; when troubles were heavy, such a burdensome yoke, that we laid them down on one shore and fled to the other. But this year, whispered sadness was rare, for babies are on the way! Janet and Art are new grandparents. Mary is knitting for a child due in December, and Dave and I are dancing to join this club, as Tucker and his wife are also expecting in December. “Our baby,” Casey calls the unknown little one Lisa is nurturing.
So, Dave will take a trip to Milford Photo, to make sure our cameras are picture ready. Back into our lives, feet pajamas and cozy stories! Splashy tub times and soft, kissable cheeks. Holidays restored to their full measure of magic. And Dave and I will pass the camera back and forth during precious moments, not convinced the other sees just what we see.