This past week, I had the wonderful good fortune to make a short trip to the Gulf Islands of British Columbia with two other photographers to shoot some incredible coastline and islands. We were up early to get sunrise, and out late for sunsets, and in between, shared a lot of fun and laughter. We talked about photography, life, food, travel, and life in general. We encouraged each other, and shared our joys and frustrations of being working photographers each with a very different view, and the challenges of how to be noticed in the sea of others.
One thing that struck me during the weekend (besides the sheer beauty of the surroundings) was that when we truly listen, we learn so much. It's so easy in today's world of so much noise to not focus when someone talks with you. The things you have to do, the next thought you have, what you are going to say next - all these things prevent us from really being present in that moment. And you only get one chance to be in that moment, because it is fleeting, and passing by. You have to work to be fully there - to listen completely and to just let all those other things flow past without being caught up in them. You need to be like the water in the image - still, quiet, peaceful and there.
There are so many moments that are lost to us that we cannot recover. We cannot know how we touch someone else, no matter how brief. And this makes being present so much more crucial. So, the next time you have an encounter, with friends, family, lovers, spouses, children, or even the clerk at the grocery store - be present in the moment fully. Be like the water. You might be surprised how good it feels.