On that beach in Portugal
I’ve been thinking about some great times spent travelling - in this case, in Ferragudo, Portugal back in 1986 - and wishing that I was again on that beach where I took this photo one glorious evening as the sun set while, out at sea, a storm slowly but inexorably brewed. In short, it was one of those massively atmospheric evenings where everything seemed almost to glow from within, illuminated by some sorcerer’s magic light; the developing low-pressure system seemed to infuse the air with electricity, and all was unnervingly calm and still.
Inevitably, such a dream is accompanied by an expectation that, were I somehow able to be there, and on the assumption that nothing much has changed in 28 years (which, according to my research* on Flickr, is not altogether errant, at least on this particular fishermens’ beach) I’d have a camera in hand (a reasonable assumption) and it would be just like old times and evocative photos would nimbly fill roll after roll of glorious FP4.
But, I’m not there. I’m here. Where “here” actually means anywhere other than on that beach. And, let’s be honest, that moment happened in a time and place that doesn’t exist anymore, even if the pots were still there and another storm was on the horizon and blah blah blah.
Conversely, you know something? And take note - this is important. I am there, really. After all, I don’t have to be there to be there. Because if we try really really hard we can put ourselves in the space in our minds that the physically being there of a particular experience put us.
I gotta admit I haven’t really thought this whole thing through, but I know it has the potential to be exceedingly liberating. Because wishing that another time and place could somehow recur - well, it’s just not gonna happen baby. But knowing that, while a particular set of circumstances might have led to that glorious moment of memory (whatever it is), even without that same stimuli - well, we know we’ve been there and felt it - it’s simply a matter of going back there. And going back there isn’t achieved with a whole bunch of cash and a plane ticket, it’s achieved by re-entering that zone where you’ve been before, and letting it flow over you like a beautiful crimson wave, man.
OK I got a bit Nimbin at the end there, but hopefully you know what I mean. It’s pointless dreaming that the something you experienced could somehow recur - pleasant as it may be, it just won’t get you too far. But you can, on the strength of the fact that you’ve experienced “it” (whatever was good about it) at least the once, try to put yourself in the same mind zone - and that will be pretty damn good too.
Even better. Because you’ve experienced “it”, and have the desire and ambition to reclaim that experience, you automatically elevate yourself to a higher zone where getting back in touch with “it” is something uniquely within your grasp.
Anyway I’m gonna try it out. Much better than being in a rut and thinking that I could take good pictures if only I was on that beach and it was 1986 or whatever. Sure, the pictures will be different, but they might just be OK.
* Yes, you heard correctly - research. See what pains I take to ensure educational, entertaining and accurate drivel for you to read, oh faithful five?