Re-Charging and Seeing

A friend reminded me recently that I needed to take some time for myself and “recharge my batteries”.  This past month has sailed by – I’ve been out of town 25 % of the time and the rest of the time, deeply focused on editing my documentary.  I needed a break from technology, airports and work. So I took his advice and with my husband, headed down to the NJ Shore for a weekend getaway.

A friend of ours had invited us to her beach house in Ocean Grove, NJ, a shore town where time seems to have stood still – especially in the month of October.  Ocean Grove is an old bible town just down the boardwalk from Asbury Park, the town where Springsteen had gotten his start at the Stone Pony decades ago.

Asbury Park, NJ

Asbury Park is a town that’s slowly coming back from a state of decay and dilapidation over the last 40 years and vastly different from its religious neighbor to the south.

It was typical October weather – sunny and brilliant one moment –

Ocean Grove, NJ

then changing to moody and melancholy, the next.  Sunday, I woke up early, got my bike and headed to the boardwalk for a ride.  I didn’t have a camera with me because I thought that I needed a break from technology.  But as I rode down the boardwalk – I started “seeing”.  I was observing everything – noticing the mundane – the ordinary

Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, NJ

– the old and the new – not the exotic that I had become accustomed to on my recent 99-day journey around the world.

I immediately thought back to when my husband and I had just moved back to the East Coast after living in Santa Barbara, CA.  Our first summer back on the East Coast, we headed “down the shore” every weekend, taking our cameras and our bikes, going to different parts of the shore each time.  We’d hop on our bikes and just ride the boardwalks – shooting and documenting things and people that we observed.  It was a wonderful summer –biking, shooting and at night, sometimes getting a room at a rooming house if we felt like splurging, or most times, sleeping in our van, awakening the next morning to explore again.

As I bicycled down the boardwalk this weekend, I realized that I had a camera in my Blackberry, which I rarely used.

Asbury Park, NJ

I pulled it out and started taking photos of my observations – just like I had done so many years earlier – and I was having the time of my life doing it.  I was  “seeing” and documenting what I saw- no preconceived notions or plans – just letting serendipity happen. Ironically, because of technology and the fact that my cell phone can capture images – I had simplified the process and gotten down to the basics of just “seeing”.

My batteries are sufficiently recharged with fresh air, solid sleep and getting back to the basics.  Perhaps, this weekend has even triggered a new project idea – or at least has planted the seed. We’ll see.

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