“I left the battery in the charger.” This is the sentence I’ve been dreading this trip, one that I knew was probably inevitable at one point or another, but also one that I swore I would do everything in my power to avoid hearing or saying. Porter and I are pretty good at making up for one another’s shortcomings: I truly have no sense of direction and a terrible memory (I literally cannot tell you the number of incorrect room numbers I’ve given at breakfasts in the past month – and most are rooms we’ve never even had!), so Port gets us from point A to point B, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Porter thinks short-term, so I’ve been the one making a back-up plan in case we’re unable to go to Barcelona in two weeks because of the political climate, and the one hunting for that specific brand of European toothpaste we like because our tube is going to run out any day now. Usually we’re able to avoid letting anything fall through the cracks this way: if he sees, I saw (and vice-versa). But occasionally, this plan isn’t foolproof, and you find yourself on top of a mountain on your last night in Mykonos 20 minutes before sunset, a solid half-hour taxi away from your hotel, and a solid hours hike from the nearest taxi station about to test shoot the light only to realize you’ve carried the camera up sans battery, even though you were absolutely sure you checked the charger, twice. Yup, that happened.
It could’ve been me who left it, but on this night, it was Porter, and because I know he’s the kind of person who fixates when he accidentally messes up a plan and kicks himself for days wondering (out loud) how he-who-remembers-everything could possible have forgotten something so important, my response was one word and one word only: run.
So, what might have been a quick twenty minutes on top of a mountain in Mykonos with Porter snapping away photos and pointing out the water skiers and beach-goers and rooftop pool parties below, turned into forty minutes of me quietly looking out as the sun slipped down the sky with a dead phone and a husband frantically hustling somewhere between me and our hotel.
First off, I want to say that we aren’t so distracted by the blogging world to not appreciate a good mountain-top sunset without a camera. We very easily could’ve just said “oh well,” sat down and taken in the view. On a different night, we probably would’ve. But this was our last night in Mykonos, and Port had spent most of that day on Google Earth trying to track down the perfect not-yet-over-photographed lookout point. When we finally reached it (me a good five minutes behind him because he has this way of sprinting up hills to get them over with) he was absolutely beaming. He had that “I told you I could find this” look on his face and I was smiling, too, because it was just a really cool beautiful breathtaking spot, and we’d gotten there just in time for golden hour. To say he was crestfallen when he realized he’d left the battery is a huge understatement. We love what we do, taking photos and editing is our favorite pastime, and something that absorbs and stirs the kind of creative energy nothing else can really come close to. He looked like a kid that had just gotten a kite up on a perfectly windy day only to have the line snap. So, at my suggestion, he ran, and somehow thanks to a combination of luck and determination on his part, he made it back up that same mountain, battery in hand, within forty minutes for what should’ve taken well over an hour. And, somehow, within that same time, sitting on that rock, knees curled up, looking down at an island cityscape we’ve both come to really genuinely love, I felt any anxiety over him not getting back in time leave. (to be honest, I knew he’d make it, Porter is just lucky that way) and I got to spend some time just appreciating the stillness.
I mentioned this in another post recently, but lately we’ve just felt overwhelming gratitude for the fact that, in our line of work, the most stressful tense days require scaling a mountain and sprinting down a street and waking up at the crack of dawn or hunting down the perfect sunset spot. There’s no falling asleep at keyboards, or chugging Red Bulls, or rubbing eyes that are sick of staring at a screen (at least not usually), and that’s a major blessing. For some people, that kind of stress is preferable to the frantically-running-around kind, but for us, we just really value the opportunity to be doing something that requires us to be on our feet, here there and everywhere, usually outdoors.
Long story short: we got the photos, caught the bus into Chora afterward, and were able to have a long drawn-out dinner and laugh it off. The light we ended up shooting in probably wouldn’t have looked quite so pretty if we’d taken the photos forty minutes before, and this blog post probably wouldn’t have written itself.
Anna Lisa & Porter