When I grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door, I had no particular agenda in mind. The sky was still peppered with stars and faint outlines of clouds meant the sunrise had potential. So did the day, as I soon learned.
I drove a couple miles to the mouth of the Buskin River, a tight, S-curve stream that flows into the ocean near Kodiak’s main airport. As I pulled into parking lot, the tires crunched over old snow and new ice. I took the precaution of stretching spiked “grippers” over the soles of my boots so I didn’t end up spread-eagled — or worse — on the ice.
I hiked upriver along a snow-packed trail to where sandwiches of ice sheets, stranded by the receding river and tide, creating interesting patterns. I set my gear down on the matted rye grass and took inventory: river, ocean, beach, sunrise, mountains. The clouds began fringing with pink and orange. Pacific wrens chatted in the spruce trees. Nice.
I unzipped the back panel of the camera bag, anticipating a fun, creative morning. But as I reached for the camera body, all I saw was an empty slot. I’d forgotten to re-pack my bag after going on vacation.
Now what? I reached in my coat pocket and pulled out my iPhone…
After I resigned myself to using the cell phone, I began to relax and play, discovering more things to photograph. “I’ve got to bring my students here next week,” I said aloud.
I felt pleased because of what I didn’t do, which was get frustrated, put myself down, and feel cheated by the universe–all the while mumbling, “Why me?”
After an hour or so, I slung my backpack over my shoulder hiked back to the car. The one feeling, the one word that kept coming to mind was gratitude.