I turn over and take a peek at the clock. It tells me, “Not time yet.” It is 4:00am and I had set the alarm for 4:30am. I lie here with emotions of excitement, anticipation and a smidgen of apprehension as I think about my day ahead.
I know I won’t fall back to sleep, so I quietly try to sneak out of bed; with my two four-legged friends close by, hearing and watching my every move and a hubby tuned into every stir, there is no sneaking. Okay, everyone up!
I get dressed, enjoy my send off filled with encouraging words, gather my gear and out the door I go. Out of my subdivision, I turn right!
Right! It is rare, especially in the early morning hours before sunrise, that I would turn right and head up into the mountains. Alone.
On this morning I do.
The narrow, winding road is two-lanes, so I need to pay close attention to my driving. I turn on the radio thinking it might help me relax, but after a few minutes, I turn it off. I want to think about my day. I don’t hurry, but I need to be in Estes Park at 6:30am.
I enjoy the ride into the mountains; as darkness zips past my window, I feel the known landmarks passing by, more than I see them. The closer to Estes Park I get, the more my excitement increases along with my smidgen of apprehension. I arrive at the prearranged meeting place right on time. The golden arches are smiling down at me, I smile back.
I park so I can observe the activities in the store, carefully watching the occupants. I tell myself, just go inside. I leave my gear and purse inside the car and head into the McDonalds. As I am looking around, a man walks up to me and asks “is your name Sheila?” I look at him directly, willing his eyes to tell me his character.
He has kind, friendly eyes so I shake his offered hand and tell him yes. He then leads me over to another gentleman, whom I recognize from a photo and I am finally introduced to the person I drove into the mountains to meet. After a few minutes of conversation, I tell them, “I will be right back, I need to call my husband.” They look at each other and looking back at me ask: “To tell him you are okay?” I reply “exactly.”
We eat breakfast, while sharing with each other tidbits of who we are. Then the man I came to meet asks me: “What do you want to learn today?” I open my iPad, and tell him what I had carefully thought about and jotted down. He listens carefully and then asks to see my photographs and offers his critique. I listen carefully and with an open mind.
After breakfast we load my gear into their vehicle and head into Rocky Mountain National Park. I am on my way to a new experience, one that brings me out of my comfort zone (remember my smidgen of apprehension) into a new life adventure and one that brings me such joy it is hard to describe. Excitement and anticipation are still with me, but apprehension seems to have faded along with the dark sky.
A full day of instruction, with a successful, professional, wildlife photographer and his business partner, whom captures a darn beautiful image himself,Begins!
After an enjoyable morning, photographing wildlife in the park, we break for lunch, then head back into the park for afternoon lessons. The afternoon lessons are different, because the lighting is different, and we have fun adjusting to the mountains’ array of moods.
At the close of this day, September 24, 2012, one I will treasure always, I leave them, standing under the golden arches, with hugs, appreciation, admiration and friendship.
As I head down the mountain, I look forward to sharing my day with hubby. I learned a lot, built a strong foundation of confidence in my abilities and realized “no matter” I will enjoy, my passion, this hobby, always giving my best and continuing to learn each and everyday.