Jim and I were on the Emerald Coast of Florida over the weekend. The 24-mile stretch of beach along Highway 30A in the northwestern part of the state is one of the most gorgeous areas I’ve ever seen. The sand is like white sugar and, as you can imagine from the nickname, the water is so many gorgeous shades of green-blue.
I took so many pictures at the beach, but that’s what I do. While we usually buy something small for our house when we visit a place for the first time (this time we picked up a handblown glass sand dollar paper weight), my very favorite kind of souvenir is a photograph. I’m always asking poor Jim to stop walking for a second or to move out of my way so I can take a picture of something or other. That’s why our home is full of photos from our travels, because we very much enjoy revisiting beautiful places from the comfort of our living room (or bedroom, or hallway).
Let me back up for a second. “Full” is not really correct. Jim and I enjoy the “less is more” approach to hanging stuff on the walls. We still have lots of wall space available, but we really like things the way they are and don’t anticipate hanging anything else at the moment. Future lovely photos will go into books that we can gaze at in the future, longing to go back to all of the wonderful places we’ve been so lucky to experience.
Anyway, this is all important information you need to know in preparation for this story, which you might as well read since you’re here and all.
I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach with my eyes closed, listening to the water and trying to engrave it all onto my brain for future reference. When my eyes were open, I was mesmerized by the waves, especially as they crested and tumbled over themselves. While the Florida waves were very small in comparison, they made me think of my visits to California and last November’s Hawaii trip when I spent so much time watching surfers pick the perfect wave to ride. There is so much beauty in the motion of it all: the circular motion of the waves and the smoothness with which the surfers hoist their body up onto the board and then just glide through the water.
I said to Jim, “You know what I’d love? One of those pictures from INSIDE a huge wave. You know, in the tube? That would be so cool. One thing though: I want to take the picture myself because you know, I’m not buying a photograph I could just take myself.”
He replied with a little bit of panic, “Where would we hang one of those??”
I said, “Oh, I don’t know. I mean, it won’t happen anyway because in order for me to take such a photo I have to become a much better swimmer than I am. And I need equipment.”
“Yeah, you’d need a waterproof camera.”
“Yes, and that’s just for starters.” I thought for a second about the budget I’d need to have in order to go on the hunt for the perfect picture of a wave tube to put on canvas and hang goodness-knows-where in our house. I’d need to get back to California and/or Hawaii probably multiple times to get the perfect shot, and I’d have to stay in various hotels up and down the coast so as to get access to a wide variety of surf conditions. I’d need a rental car–a convertible, actually–for scoping out my locations. I enjoy eating in general but would also need to make sure to eat well since I’d be burning up so much energy out there in the ocean–burgers at beach shacks are delicious but I can’t live on those for an extended period of time–so I’d need a pretty big food budget. In addition to the waterproof camera I’m pretty sure I’d need a variety of special lenses and a nice camera bag to keep it all in. I’m sure I have a friend or two who would be happy to accompany me on the trip and stand guard on the beach with all of my extra equipment and also to get help quickly if I find myself in distress out there, what with the dangerous wave conditions required to get just the right picture. I’d want to cover all of their expenses as well as pay them for their time, because their time is just as valuable as mine. There will also surely be miscellaneous costs I haven’t even thought of; those always come up when you least expect them. And what about the expensive wet suit I’d probably have to wear until I die because of the effort I’ve heard it takes to squeeze into one? There’s that.
I concluded that the one perfect picture would cost roughly $1,642,930.48 and told Jim, “Yeah, it’s definitely never going to happen.”
It’s a good thing we don’t want to hang anything else on our walls.