"Our backyard is the National Forest," she says. Their back-yard…IS THE NATIONAL FOREST!
That part of this whole thing didn't really hit me until I walked across the gate into the meadow and saw the sign that said, "Property Line - Entering National Forest."
Literally…I grabbed an iced tea, walked across a mini field of wildflowers that took all of 16 seconds, and there it is - the property border, and the beginning of...the National Forest.
Anyone that knows me has heard me say more than once that if and when I finally do own a home, it needs to be small, low maintenance, and quaint, but I do have a requirement - a lot of natural land around me…and if someone asked to pick two places in California to do that in, they'd be Big Sur and Yosemite. Well, this couple have worked tirelessly to make that happen. That is literally their life. In the time I've been here, they haven't stopped working on this three-year work in progress, the third cabin, and I mean real physical labor - building, carpentry, plumbing, cooking, painting, staining, you name it - all in an effort to have it ready for the tenants, and never once complaining about it, I would imagine because they realize that this life is beautiful. In most cases, a hint of envy might take me over, but for some reason, in this case, it didn't. Instead, I foudn it encouraging as all hell to know that this is not just a thing of fantasy, this is a very real possibility as a result of work and do. They just do. They don't complain about it. They just do it - and for the most part, with smiles on their faces.
In any case, here I am, entering my final night of this little pseudo-adventure, and I sit, by candlelight, yet again, writing this communique (sorry, had to do it…), reflecting a bit on the last few days. It takes getting away from everything you're used to, your monotonous, almost formulaic robotic way of life, to understand and put everything into perspective…life truly is good. Experiences are what remind you of that. Yes, bad shit has happened, and bad shit will happen, that's just a part of it, but so does good shit. Overall, when you take the initiative to try to pay attention to the life that is around you and the life you're living, rather than just numbly let it guide you and pass right by you, every single one of those moments that you live in, those moments you truly live in, you realize are good moments. This moment, right here, right now, is beautiful. And the more of those beautiful ones that you pay attention to and accumulate, you can store in your memory for those times when you need them…you can draw on them and remember that there are many incredible moments, come and gone, and, most important (and hardest) to remember, will come again.
So some of the moments that I will continue to draw on for days, weeks, months to come come from these final days here at Far Meadow. Today, while the light was directly above and not quite optimal shooting conditions for property photography, let alone any photography, the owner decided to take me to some 'amazing pools and waterfalls' close to the property, so we hopped in the truck and headed on down a grizzly sierra road. We twisted and turned through pine trees and dirt roads and came upon a trailhead that led us through manzanitas and beautiful moss-covered pine groves that soon opened up into a creek, that led into a pool, that led into a wider creek, that led into a bigger pool, that led into…well, you get the picture…
The combination of fresh-flowing alpine water cascading across the warm sun-beaten rocks, snaking it's way from one natural pool to another, provided for some of the most perfect swimming hole conditions I perhaps have ever encountered (it's still tough to completely beat Havasu Falls...). The color of the water danced from forest green to platinum to gold, depending on which angle you looked at it, and whatever surroundings that the light was bouncing upon it from. This is where the Eye-Fi came in super handy, for every direction you turned your head provided another frame. Here's a few of them.
I was so inspired that on the drive back, I instinctively tapped into my inner Van Gogh with this shot (in actuality, it was all an accident stemming from having the camera unintentionally in shutter priority mode rather than the intended aperture priority...but hey, turned out to be one of my favorite images, so, well, yup!):
Silliness aside, we got back in time to snap the final round of shots needed for the rental, and proceeded to make and devour our final meal together in Far Meadow…sausages, artichokes, and soup, all cooked upon that same open fire pit flame. We laughed about the look on the store clerk's face when they went to buy a wood burning stove on a 109 degree day (for clarification, it was a cabin installation for the winter months...), we conversed on everything from the difference between photography and art to the major differences in compost toilets (don't ask...), then grabbed a nightcap glass of white wine, walked out into the meadow, and turned our heads upwards for a final time, soaking in the milky way, a couple of shooting stars, and a few more laughs...
...just more of those 'moments' to bank away…
-- For Part 1 of this Far Meadow Photo Adventure, click here! and for Part 2 of this Far Meadow photo adventure, click here! and find me on Google Plus, where I'm most active on a daily basis or on Twitter @wasimofnazareth for my mobile mayhem (aka: pretty pictures taken by iPhone).