I always dreamed of being a mermaid.
A few days ago I was shivering on a rock, having struggled to wiggle my now wet and dirty behind into a spandex mermaid tail and fin. I was thankful that I had even made it to this rock because the water was brownish and murky; and when I attempted to swim over I kept finding all the bits of jagged boulder jutting out from the bottom.
Somewhere near that waterfall there is a trail that will take you up and around to the nice rocks, the climbable rocks, but my friend and I couldn’t find it. So we swam, we waded, we held cameras above our heads and we tried really hard not to think about any slimy things that might be touching our legs.
So there I was sitting on a rock, cold and a wet, wondering where on earth I was going to set up my tripod after my friend was done photographing me. I did my best to muster my most siren-like pose. I took a deep breath in, I let it out…. and it hit me.
I was a mermaid. Sitting on a rock. Overlooking a waterfall. When the moment struck me I couldn’t help but laugh in amazement. This moment was literally a dream come true. I said to myself, “my life is amazing” and I soaked up the fresh air, felt the cool water running through my fingertips and let myself believe for a beautiful moment that I was what kid-Jenny always wanted to be.
After that beautiful moment was gone it was back to work climbing rocks, wiggling into my tail, and trying really hard not to fall off those tiny cliffs. Eventually I set my tripod up in a little pile of pebbles and I scoped out the perfect spot for my photo. I looked down at my camera remote and realized I had no way to protect it from the rushing water that I was about to plunge myself into. I’m so sorry, I thought, but you have to be sacrificed, little remote.
Carefully I walked onto the slippery well-worn boulder and I took my seat. The water felt like an ice-cold shower and it sprayed all around me as I tried to slip into my tail again. This time I was wet and the stretchy fabric fought me every inch. Once it was on I took my pose and pointed my remote. Ten shots later, the remote was dead, drown in the icy spray, and I was soaked, shivering and hoping for one good shot.
The photos I ended up with were not exactly what I envisioned but I love them nonetheless. I learned so much from this experience and I had a wonderful adventure in the process. I learned to wrap remotes in plastic bags before you leave the house. I learned to scope out my location in advance. I learned that it is hard as heck to pose in a mermaid tail. I learned that rocks are slippery when wet and that the idea of water-snakes is slightly less fun when you can’t see what’s touching you. And most of all I learned that I still love this art-form.
This is my first self portrait in over a month and my first intentional photo-shoot in over five. Photography used to be my whole world and I let it slip away from me. I know that life has changed for me and I will never been the same artist that I was before, but it feels so good to learn that I still love it.
Jenny the Time Traveling Pirate