Finding Myself


It’s interesting where I find myself sometimes.  I mean, I’m consciously involved in deciding where I go and when, but there are so many moments when I look around and think how awesome/weird/random it is that I end up where I do.  Take, for instance, the weekend before last.  I attended a wedding ceremony of a queer couple whom I’d photographed back in April when they did their legal ceremony in SF.  Megan was there too, as were a number of people I hadn’t seen in many years and many more I’d never met before.  The cross-section of humans in their endlessly varying gender and fashion expressions was a delight and a marvel to behold.  The ceremony itself was moving, heartfelt and sincere.  The celebration afterwards was joyous.  I’d ended up spending the whole weekend on the farm where the ceremony was held and got to give a tour of my van to a few curious guests.  Beautiful sunsets were enjoyed, much food & drink consumed, and love was in the air. 

Then, I find myself packed inside the Great American Music Hall in SF, strobe lights flashing and fog machines billowing and amplifiers crushing eardrums as I photograph New York noise merchants A Place To Bury Strangers. 

A day or two later I find myself on top of a hill overlooking the Ukiah Valley, walking through a picturesque vineyard taking photographs as the sun slowly sinks below the opposing hills.  Silent but for the birdsong and the leaves of nearby oak trees rustling in the breeze. I wanted to stay there all night, but it wasn’t my vineyard and I didn’t have permission to stay.

Then a day or two after that, I’m in the van with Megan as we drive down the empty, curving roads of Siskyou County watching the Trinity River appear and disappear over and over again through the trees. This was her first overnight van trip with me and I wanted to show her all the beautiful places I’d driven through on my visit there last month.  We did a little hiking, a little river swimming (yep, it was cold), and a lot of driving. Quite a delightful little trip.

And a day or so after that, I’m in Santa Cruz loading my van full of Aurora’s belongings, since her school year just ended and she’s got to move out of her on-campus housing.  We take them all to my parents’ house to be stored for the summer while she travels to New York, then Cuba, then Mexico. My sister and her husband are visiting my parents, so the whole gang is there.  Her husband insists on washing my van for me (which is nice of him but a little strange), and I’m happy to let him do it.  I spend a little time doing some projects in the van myself, but don’t end up staying down there for long.

The next place I find myself is on a beach on the Sonoma Coast with Megan and two dear friends, Dan and Sherry.  My birthday is the next day and we’re doing a pre-game hike & impromptu photo session with the ocean and the ladies as subjects.  It’s a gorgeous day and we spend time walking together or wandering off on our own to think or look for stones or watch the waves roll in.  We meet up with Travis and Lauren later in downtown Guerneville and have a birthday dinner at the taco truck in the Safeway parking lot.  The food is amazing and we’re starving. 


We make our way back to Dan & Sherry’s house for cocktails and a little fire in the back yard where we tell stories of the past and make each other laugh as we always seem to do. The night closes with a smoke on the porch above the redwood-lined canyon and soft conversation.

My 46th birthday arrives slowly and softly, me raising my head to peer out the window at the morning fog, then rising to make breakfast and join Dan on the porch for coffee and more conversation.  Eventually Megan and I leave to take a walk near the Pomo Trail, just a mile or two from the coast.  We find a snake sunning itself on the road, find the large campground all closed up and abandoned, and walk through the trees and meadows in near solitude.  It feels good to breathe the coastal air and walk with each other.

We check into a sweet little Inn at the edge of Guerneville and spend some time lounging by the pool, lounging in our room, then spending a little more time with Dan & Sherry.  Birthday dinner at the taco truck again (because it’s THAT good), and an early bedtime.  Glad to be alive another year.