The past three days have been full of a lot of firsts.
I sat on a plane flying from D.C. to San Francisco, and as I watched the miniature animated version of our flying machine on the screen in front of me make its way over Chicago, I kept thinking to myself, “This is the furthest west I’ve ever been. Now this is the furthest west I’ve ever been. Now THIS is the furthest west I’ve ever been.” Just call me a modern day Meriwether Lewis. It was (and is!) more than a little exciting to be on the west coast for the very first time. I was more than a little giddy to dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and to take in my very first Pacific Ocean sunset. And I’m more than a little in love with the Golden Gate Bridge. Why is that piece of engineering just so darn sexy?? It may or may not be taking over my Instagram feed over the next few days.
Back to the point, as I’m making my way down the California coast to Santa Barbara for a photo conference/camp/dance party called Field Trip (more to come on this later!), I’ve been ruminating on all of these big, exciting firsts and reflecting back on a lot of other first in my life. Most seem a lot smaller, a lot more commonplace, less interesting. Like the first time I went to school. The first time I ever played soccer. Or the first time I caught a fish or performed in a talent show. All of this little, tiny firsts that actually aren’t so little and tiny, but serve to shape the bones of the human that we grow up to be. And what about the people who were there for those firsts, the people who we grew up with, who were there as we so unknowingly laid the foundations of our lives? These people are precious, and for me, Elena is one of these people.
Elena is a human with a heart of pure gold, if pure gold was the warmest, kindest, most encouraging substance on the planet. She is building a life for herself in one of the toughest cities in the world, New York, and doing a damn fine job of it. Her passion, commitment, courage, and strong spirit encourage me every. single. day. to do more of what I love, to love myself more, and to express gratitude at every opportunity.
Well, one of the best ways I know of expressing myself is with my camera, and so when I had the opportunity to visit Elena in NYC last fall, she graciously volunteered to be my muse for the day as we explored all over her city. It’s a few months late, but as I explore an entirely new place and think of how lucky I am to have friends like Elena in my life, I can’t help but share her with you, here. Elena, thank you thank you everything. Just absolutely everything, you are one of the best ones, my dear.
“Legs for days” Elena ;)