Monday, March 5, 2012

when I was missing

I tell her I'm on the lam. If anyone comes asking she's never seen me. She recommends the blackened grouper Reuben so I order it. That and one ice cold Bud Light in a bottle. Alone on the deck facing a photographer's dream I sit and watch as a darkness lifts in the distance. It feels like a secret and I think of you.

How do I tell you this?

She delivers the beer while I am pulling out the camera. Are you a photographer? she asks. Two days ago I sat on a patio with Ken Murphy, a master of that very question. I have absolutely no right to call myself a photographer so I pause before answering. Enough of a stutter she answers for me, Oh, it's just a hobby? 

I smile. Yes, I am a photographer. Another pause and then, A writer too. She seems pleased so I make sure she knows I've lost my mind lest she thinks I can make her a celebrity. If my family comes looking for me tell 'em you hadn't seen me.

She smiles, chuckles, says one day she'll do the same thing. Then she leaves to either take care of  my sandwich or call the police. I'm okay with either. I take a sip of the beer and look back at the sliver of light. It's growing. I can see the silhouettes of palm trees lining the beach road, at least I think that's the beach road. Before long I am almost certain since large masses of shadow are revealed as the light continues to push and grow. Those are either condominiums or huge sea monsters coming to take us all. Again, okay with either.

I take a shot, check the lighting, feel like my camera nor my skills are going to show you this. Still I try and adjust. A few more and I set the camera down. There are large birds nesting on a tree on an island and I watch as they take off and come back. I'm tempted. Maybe I could show you them but there is just something about this scene, this light pushing the dark up, the movement of the water which has caught me still as if I moved, blinked, for one moment looked away, it would leave. That it is never real, that if for one moment I don't say, thank you, then it will disappear.

She brings my sandwich and catches the light. Well, it looks like we're going to have a sunset. It's been so dreary all day. I never thought that would happen.

I say as softly as I can so maybe she won't hear me and she won't think I'm crazy and I won't be taken off in shackles, It's a gift.

Sunset Grille, Perdido Key

I didn't get it, the shot, but I know you. You're the forgiving sort so I'll try again a million times until I have it just right.

Hi, you. It's good to be back.

I am grateful for the experience of going and returning.


Anonymous said...

Retribution for a week of solitary confinement, well worth it.

Shelby said...

I love the picture. It's gorgeous.

Ken Murphy said...

Hi Shea: It was great to sit and chat with you in Bay St. Louis. I am honored that you thought enough about my work to seek me out and want my thoughts, even if they may not have been what you wanted to hear. The reality for most real artists is not always a pleasant one. However, it appears that you do have a gift and I would encourage you to develop it and follow it where ever it may lead. Just be prepared for a rocky road.


Ken Murphy

Shea Goff said...

You are beautifully kind, Anonymous. It's nice to have you here. Again, thank you.

Thank you, Shelbs. I'm so glad you like it.

Dear, Ken. Thank you for being human and normal and generous. When I saw your comment I called my Mom and said, Ken Murphy thinks I may have a gift! Then we both took a minute to act like I had just won the Oscar for best cinematography. And just for the record, rocky roads don't scare me since I was raised on gravel ones. It's the end of the rainbow, where the road leads, the hope at the completion of the day which seems so sacred. My best to you as well. Surely we'll meet again.