GULF SHORES, AL; March 6, 2020 – It was 68° F, there was no ice on the water, but it felt as if there could have been. Young folks were down at the edge of the shoreline, a few wading, some playing volleyball, many just lying in the sun, determined to get a tan before the end of their vacations. But elderly folks sheltered themselves from the northerly wind behind a public building, soaking up the sun’s warmth, glad for the reprieve of shoveling snow back home.
Frigid north winds blew the tops off two to three-foot waves rolling onto the beach, and brought record cold temperatures to the Gulf Coast last night. Sandpipers, Seagulls and Pelicans didn’t seem to be adversly affected by the cold, but there were precious few humans anywhere near the beach.
Light in October is different than in June or February. The trees, the fence, the little trailer; they all plead, beg…like me…to hold on to the warmth even after the sun goes down. There’s no need for begging in June – the warmth will hold on. In February, there’s just no point in begging. But in October, in the deep south, leaves are still mostly green, the light is warm in every sense, but after the sun drops below the horizon…
We were here first. There’s plenty of room; do you have to sit so close? Or maybe the story is: Come! Join us we’ll all have a good time. But more likely it’s, “How’s the water, Mabel? What does George have in his hands?
I’ve often read that “great photos always tell a story.” But I don’t think a single photo can ever tell a complete story. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. A single photo can only capture a small fraction of the story. Without context, this is simply a photo of a group of people at a beach with a vast ocean of water in the background. Are they family? Friends? Recent acquaintances? Are they stranded on a desert island? What is the story?
The quality of light is changing, the air smells a little bit like autumn. Hardwoods are still in full-leaf, but they’re getting ready for the changing season. It’s difficult to put a finger on precise changes, but they are coming. Nature’s aromas are different, the air feels different, the light isn’t quite so crisp.
…Then what should we work for?
Only this: proper understanding, unselfish action; truthful speech. A resolve to accept whatever happens as necessary and familiar, flowing like water from that same source and spring.
Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations” translated by Gregory Hays
Surf and clouds manipulated a little bit in Photoshop. This was created at Fort Morgan, Alabama a day after Hurricane Barry tore through New Orleans. Weather in southern Alabama wasn’t so horrible: a light breeze and some rain with a little flooding in places. The photo has been dramatized, sensationalized and colorized, but other than that – it’s exactly as I envisioned it.