12 April 2019

the memories that pile up

A long time ago I bought a Konica Acom-1 and did a test roll of film but never took it out of my camera. Then I bought an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic on ebay for $24 back in 2017 and let both of those collect dust for a few more years. At the start of 2019 I had a dream that encouraged me to pick up film again, so I did. I'm a pretty simple person.
About 2 weeks ago I sent in 4 rolls of film (the 2 I shot, and 2 mystery ones my uncle gave me) to get developed. Unfortunately the Acom-1 roll didn’t develop any images. I have a vague memory of the photos that were in there, but it would’ve been nice to have seen them again. The good news is that the other 3 did, so I got my prints back today and wanted to share the ones shot with my pentax sp.
The transit center at sunset 
 A lot of the shots that turned out well are from my day trip to Ilwaco. I had to google the ideal settings for a sunny day by the sea, haha! And then I found out how to use the meter.
 The way that the sunlight was captured on the trail is breathtaking.
 I really love these shots — not all of the ones I got back are good because I was fiddling around with the settings but the last half really shows what I learned along the way. 
This one is my absolute favorite from the roll.
I accidentally forgot to press the release button while preparing to take out the film so the last couple of frames got ruined. I had taken about 3-4 more shots after this one at UW. I think the red streaks make it more beautiful, though — it's a memory imprinted forever.

09 April 2019

golden stars of spring

 Spring is here and with it the cherry blossoms have settled into their full bloom, with the tulips right around the corner. It's always exciting trying to chase the blooms of everything I want to see, and this year I'm hoping to try something new!

My memories from elementary school are relatively vivid, but I'd have to say the most prominent ones are of the fourth grade. That year I took up the harmonica and spent recess by the classroom door, learning how to play Danny Boy (one of my favorite songs). I begged my mom to let me take home our classroom hamster, but gave them to the girl who was sick the day we were supposed to give our parent notes of approval. My friend then gave me her hamster, Penny, who I loved dearly as my first pet. 

Most of all, though, is the memory of my fourth grade teacher, who loved daffodils. As often as she could, she would decorate our tables with fresh daffodils in a small vase. I remember learning how to make daffodil paper flowers out of colored tissue in her class, and would frequently find myself drawing daffodils whenever I could.
It's funny what you carry through to adulthood, and how much of an impact a teacher's love and passion makes. When I saw this bed of daffodils at Queen Elizabeth Park, I was reminded of her. She was definitely one of my favorite teachers - gentle but respected.

I usually go up to La Conner for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festivals, but they also host Daffodil and Lavender Festivals - something I've only found out recently! I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it in time, but I'd love to see the fields of daffodils before they go. 
I hope you're doing well!

04 March 2019

Ilwaco: Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Standing proudly at the southwestern tip of Washington are two lighthouses: Cape Disappointment and North Head. The former, lit in 1856, was the very first lighthouse in the state, and remains active to this day. The latter, built in 1897, was built due to complaints by mariners that Cape Disappointment was obstructed by the headland when coming from the north.

Cape Disappointment was named by Captain John Meares, who made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the river bar in 1788. Out of frustration, he christened the cape as such. It wasn't until 1792 when Captain Robert Gray was the first to successfully cross the bar. Although he initially gave it the name Cape Hancock, he later changed it to Cape Disappointment, as Meares had. 
 The trail from the parking lot is fairly short, being less than a mile long. Today was probably one of the sunniest days we've had in weeks, with not a cloud in sight. The crisp March air and the shade from the trees offered a cool breeze, with the faint smell of the ocean wafting in. Despite the shade I found my cheeks a bit red from the pockets of sun that came in along the trail. 
About halfway through, a steep set of stairs leads down to Dead Man's Cove. It was very tempting to climb down, but climbing back up was another story. Later I found out that this was a popular cove to visit, and the view down below quite breathtaking. Maybe another time when the sun wasn't so blinding!

A narrow trail leads all the way up to the top of the hill where the lighthouse stands watch. The only sounds you can hear are the waves crashing below, and the birds singing far off in the trees.

 Coast Guards making their routine check-up.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
From the fence, you can see one of the jetties. As we were walking back to the lot, a couple called out to us excitedly. At the top of the trees was a bald eagle, and we all stood there marveling at it as it glided around. 

15 February 2019

The way it will be

Doing things my heart isn’t truly set on directly affects my enjoyment and experience with said thing. Makes sense, right? For me it comes in many forms, but more strongly in consuming media: shows, movies, books. Even since childhood I've felt an overwhelming importance on what my heart tells me in the moment, to the point where it's become fervent superstition. The time I finally sit down to watch or read something is the time it is meant for, and I hold onto that feeling. That if I’m dragging my feet to pick up a book sitting on my shelf, it’s not the time for it yet. And if I have something to take with me from an experience, I want to be ready to listen for it.

In December 2013, we had just packed up over 10 years of our life and stuffed it into a tiny apartment. My bedroom was wall to wall with boxes that I wouldn’t unpack for another month or two — some were still sealed by the time we moved to the next place. There was so much of my life that I had hastily packed away and couldn't bring myself to look at again. I had to keep moving forward or I would surely fall apart. One of those falling-apart nights I went down to the trash room to recycle some moving boxes. I don’t remember if it was still winter or the start of spring. But I opened the heavy metal doors to see a discarded bookshelf — and a single worn book at the very top. I think anyone who enjoys reading would feel something seeing a discarded book, but this one I knew very well. Sitting there under the single halogen light was The Alchemist.

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind,” the alchemist said to the boy as they began to ride across the sands of the desert.

Without hesitation, I picked it up and took it home. Why did the owner put it in the trash room instead of donating it? Why go through the effort to set it atop a bookshelf? What brought them to throwing it away? Pools of thoughts floated through my head as I rode the elevator back up, gently carrying the book in my arms. It seemed strange to me that this was the only book there that night — a lonely book on an even lonelier bookshelf. 

Thinking back then and thinking about it now — it was definitely an omen. Why was a copy of The Alchemist, specifically, in our new apartment complex? Maybe I was meant to have it. Maybe the owner put it there fully believing that I would find it and give it a new home. 

In the end, however, I never read it. The omen was there, and I wasn't prepared for its arrival. At the time it felt like such a precious and meaningful occurrence that the time I should give to it should be just as meaningful. And for a long time it hasn’t felt like I could give it that time. I'd even venture to say that I didn't feel like I deserved to read it.

“Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever.”

Five years later, it's Christmas again. As I unpacked my books in a new apartment, I came across that same copy of The Alchemist. I was spending the holidays home alone, and decided to put together a new, bigger bookshelf for my books still in boxes. There it was again, so quiet and patient. Somehow now it felt like the right time. But I still hesitated. I let it sit on my desk for a few more days, overthinking like I always do. I fanned through the soft pages. This copy is worn and well-loved, with occasional highlighter and pen marks. The pages are aged with a vignette and smelled like an old familiar smell from a fading memory. 
I'd like to think that everyone has a favorite time of day they prefer to read. Mine is at night, huddled up in bed while the rest of the world sleeps and the moon makes its way through the stars. One night I finally decided to start. Just a chapter or so, I thought. So, huddled up in bed, I began. And I kept reading, reading, reading. Time seemed to have stopped, until I realized I was halfway through already. Granted, it’s not too long of a book — but the impact left me breathless and wanting to weep. With every page I felt an overwhelming sense of purpose. It felt as if I’ve known this story all my life. Like those special moments where you're brought a piece to add to your heart that makes you think Oh, here you have been all my life. Yet in this case it's always been here. And deep down I knew I would love it because you loved it. And maybe coming to terms with that was too sad until now.

You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.

It's fitting, sad, wonderful, hopeful, and now was very much the time it was meant for. Back then I was afraid to be Fatima, left behind and always watching the horizon. Now I'd like to think I'm wiser and understand this instead as a patient and trusting love, though maybe it's too late for that. And if the omens have stopped, then at the very least I want to thank you for bringing this book, among many other pieces of my heart, to me. I'll treasure it forever. I love you.

 — Your girl of the desert.