Living in my memories: If only I’d had my camera …

This waterfall is somewhere near the Lihui airport — along a tight, twisty road, found by the hoards of tourists. We had a few minutes before our flight home to take a look — my camera was slung over my shoulder.

Sometimes, though, having your camera on you is impractical, even when you’re in the most beautiful vacation spot in the world.  At other times, it’s a conscious decision not to fiddle with apertures and f-stops.  Even so, there are pictures I definitely took with my mind’s eye. They are as vivid as the digital prints I shoot, just a little harder to share, but here, let me try.  These are in no particular order — just spinning through the Rolodex of my memory:

I would have found some way to capture a picture of my whole family, in the ocean, enjoying the ebb and flow of the tide.  For me, it’s one of the most relaxing places on earth. Both girls were clinging to their boogie boards — one because she has a fear of what lies beneath the surface (and look! there she was conquering her fear even if she wasn’t comfortable letting her feet dangle) and the other occasionally letting go so she could practice treading water (which for some reason she finds ever-so-difficult).  The shot would have included my husband diving beneath the water, seeing if he could sneak up on one of us. I would have focused on the smiles and laughter.  A perfect moment.

There was the big, green ball floating through the pool that turned and magically morphed into a young boy in a bright green swim shirt. Good thing my daughter hesitated before grabbing it to play catch.

My memory clearly paints the stares my silly teenage girl got from the two, blond tween boys, sitting in the hot tub, blue eyes glued on her playing in the pool.  She has no idea how cute she is. Obviously, they did.

The young dad: standing at the edge of the pool, his eyes fixed protectively on his child. I’m not really sure which one of the many children was his, but it didn’t matter. His arms were folded and gripped in one hand were two mermaid barbies, their blond hair held tight in his fist. He could have been hanging on to a hammer. When he finally put the barbies down, their hair still stood straight up, like shellacked straw.

A little boy, maybe 5 years old, a new swimmer, was keeping his watchful dad busy. He looked just like the pictures of my husband when he was a boy. Even my daughter noticed the remarkable similarity.

A large, mint green floating donut traveling quietly across the pool. It seemed to be inviting someone to float, to relax.

The palm trees swaying in the breeze, the rustling leaves competing with the constant sound of the waterfall into the pool and the crashing waves of the ocean. If I could have photographed the breeze, I would have tried to capture how soothing it is. If at all possible, I would have packed those breezes and brought them home.

While kayaking (where paddling into a headwind sprays you until you are soaking wet) I see a perfect red hibiscus floating on the ripples and three egrets on the bank enjoying an afternoon of bug delicacies. That image would have been prize-worthy.  In my mind it is.

I would have captured, through time-lapsed photography, the lightening of the ocean skies at day break, instead of sipping my coffee on the lanai.  Sipping my coffee helped my eyes open to the wonder of it.

Sometimes, like I said at the top, it’s not just that it’s impractical to carry that camera — sometimes it’s a decision to just be in the moment.  Those “mind’s eye” images can be more indelible than pixels and prints.  They live forever in your memory because they must.


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