I thought I would share one of my recent experiences while on one of my fall photo-taking "adventures". They might not qualify as adventures to some-- but for me these photo trips are the only times when I'm not completely sure of where I'm going or what I will see--and these days those are the kinds of adventures I'm having.
It was 7:00 am, the kids had just gotten on the bus and I was excited to get going. I tried to map out my photo route on Google Maps before I left because I felt like I needed a printed copy of directions in case my phone failed me. Not a great idea. Once again I became hopelessly locked in a battle with my computer that I knew I probably wouldn't win. I couldn't figure out how to have part of the route avoid highways and part of the route not to avoid highways. After 30 minutes of wasting my precious morning light I just headed out the door. I didn't get far. We live in a beautiful area in Putnam county, NY dotted with reservoirs where you can often see rowboats pulled up on the shore. I have rarely seen fishermen out on the water, but I suppose they are probably there and gone long before I'm usually even awake. From the road I could see the way the light was shining off the water and reflecting through the trees and it was so pretty that I had to stop and investigate further. I found a place to pull off the road and there was another car. A fisherman, perhaps? Probably. Hopefully not some psycho lurking in the woods. The thought crossed my mind but it wasn't enough to keep me from going after a potentially awesome picture. Yeah. I do that pretty often.
I was in a bit of a panic because there is really only a window of a couple of hours in the morning where the light is soft, warm and directional. So I hopped out of the car, slung my camera bag over my shoulder and headed down through the wooded area toward the shore. I was excited about taking pictures and sometimes when that happens I forget about everything else. Like what I happened to be doing with the car keys in my hand. I knew that I had to transfer them from my hand to my camera bag but apparently this was not enough of an important detail to pay close attention to. At some point in my rush down to the shore and without looking (because my eyes were focused on the beautiful scenery in front of me), I stuffed them into the side pocket of my camera bag. Or so I thought.
I got down to the water. Saw the fisherman on his boat. It was beautiful but the lighting wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. I took a few shots and headed back to the car. This is the result of my time down by the water...
When I got to the car, I went into my camera bag for my keys and they weren't in either side pocket. Hmm. This situation wasn't completely foreign to me though-- I'm often standing outside my locked car searching through my messy receipt-filled purse for my keys. But I usually find them eventually. This time they weren't in any pocket. Then it dawned on me. I didn't put the keys in the side pocket of my camera bag- but instead in the loop thingy on the side of my camera bag which I guess is for attaching things. The problem is when you put keys inside of a loop, they fall through. I realized this is what happened and my heart sank to my knees as I looked back in the direction from where I had just come. I don't know if I mentioned this...but the ground was covered in a thick blanket of leaves. This is what the ground looked like:
There was no trail. I had blazed my own trail but I couldn't even tell where I had been because when you walk on a blanket of leaves It doesn't really show. And you can't hear a set of keys drop over the crunching of leaves under your feet. My heart sank even further when I realized that we only had one key to this car. Our other set of keys was lost over two years ago and we had never gotten our car keys replaced but have just been dealing with the inconvenience. So even if I was able to get my husband on the phone (which I tried- but no luck), he wouldn't be able to come rescue me with the other keys. Because they didn't exist. My brain wouldn't allow me to think of what was next if I couldn't find them. Are there locksmiths for cars? I stopped thinking about it. There were only two things to do. I started to retrace what I thought was my path. And I prayed.
It seemed like an impossible task. I could walk right over them and not see them if they had fallen through the leaves. This was how I was going to be spending my day-- getting out of this. So much for my photo trip. I hoped that the fisherman was a friendly guy because I was pretty sure I would be seeing more of him soon and would have to explain my ridiculous situation.
I wasn't even sure where I had walked but I tried to find any indication of where the leaves might have been moved by my feet. I got all the way down to the water where I had taken several photos. And by some miracle- there they were! Just lying on top of the leaves. They must have hung on for as long as they could to the loop-- this was far from the place where I had put them "away". It's really hard to describe the relief and joy I felt. And only about another 20 minutes of my morning light had been wasted. It could have been so much worse. Prayer answered. Maybe now I should seriously think about getting another key made for the car...