This is a post about listening to your instincts and listening to the ‘hints’ that the Universe is throwing out there for you.
First let me start by saying that I am not a believer in ‘signs’ or ‘destiny’ or pretty much anything Metaphysical. I am pragmatic to a fault sometimes. That being said I need to tell y’all about my experiences these last 2 days in Florida. I was driving from central Florida, from an Air BnB I stayed at while doing the Mt. Dora Art Festival. I did not have another place to stay because I did not have the money at the time needed to book an affordable place. So I was just going to ‘wing it’, which is something I rarely do. I set my GPS for Ft. Myers, about 3 hours away, and just drove. The hope was to find some independent motels that don’t advertise and just walk in and ask for a room for a couple nights.
(For TL;DR people, you can jump to the bottom)
On the way there I found a cute little abandoned farmhouse. It was nothing special except that it was close enough to the road that I didn’t have to hop the fence to get good photos. “Okay, that was cool, Glad I am taking the side roads”, I said to myself. But about an hour later I could not avoid getting on I75 south in order to get to my destination. I generally HATE interstates because they are so boring and offer little photo opportunities. But about an hour on I75 I spot a billboard for a ‘Historic General Store’. I had about 1 mile to make up my mind to take that exit or keep trucking down the interstate.
“Go for it”, I told myself. “It’s not like you are on a schedule and you may never get the opportunity to stop by here again”. So I took the exit and headed to Richloam, FL
About 8 miles off the interstate I found this historic general store. I walked inside and it was like stepping back on time. Right away the lovely lady behind the counter told me the history of this great old building, while I was petting her cute beagle. Richloam General Store was built and founded by Sidney Brinson June 28, 1922. The building served as the Express office, the Post Office and the general store for the community of Richloam until January 31, 1936. In 2016 the building underwent a major renovation and reopened in Fall of 2017. I introduced myself and asked if I could take a few photos, she said “Help yourself”. I was so excited that I hope my settings were correct and that I got some good shots. The ones included here are from my cell phone, apologies.
After that fantastic experience I continued down I75 S with no particular place in mind, just the city of Ft. Myers. As I get closer my brain alerts me to something, my instincts maybe? I remember last year I went to the fishing docks there to try to get some photos but the lighting was crap that day. Luckily I saved it in My Maps so I found it easily and headed for these grungy docks in Ft. Myers. I turn down Shrimp Boat RD (no kidding!) and I know I am in the right place. It is 4:00pm and I have maybe 90 minutes of good light left. I then look and see it clouding up and my window is not 40 minutes to get all the photos I can. The place is bustling with activity as there are repairs being done and supplied being loaded for the next morning’s trip. I have no real plan in my head I just keep chasing the light and going where it is leading me, trusting my gut as to what will look KILLER and when is just ‘okay’. Nobody working there pays any attention to me, IF they even see me.
I am so invisible that a lady driving a pickup truck almost hits me as she pulls into the docks! She rolls down her window and apologizes. I say the last person she expected to see as w photographer here. Ha!
We get to talking and she asks “Are you originally from Maryland?”. I reply yes and ask how did she know. “It’s your accent.” I swear Marlanders do NOT have an accent. “Yes they do hun.” She replies. We talk some more and then she asks if I will take a picture of her, her bother and their dog on the bow of their boat. She has never gotten one and has wanted one for years and will buy some from me! I told her it would be an honor. So I set up my tripod as close as I can and snap about 15 shots. I am confident I got some good ones and I wave bye and thank her. As I pivot, I spy a boat that is named ‘Baby Girl’! I name that is significant to me and my girlfriend Veronica (it’s a pet name I have for her)! WOW! “This was meant to be!” I almost say out loud. So I get some more boat shots before the light is gone behind the clouds.
Now I get on my phone and look for some cheap motels. Some reviews mention ‘bed bugs’ and ‘drug activity’ so I cross them off my list. Now my list is like empty. I might now be sleeping in my car or be paying $195 if one night at a 2-star hotel. But once again my ‘gut’ tells me to pull over and do one more search. I look for Air BnB’s again to see if one opened up or if a new one just got listed……and….. I FIND ONE! It looks lovely and I can book immediately. I book it for 2 nights because that was all they had open. I figure I can spend to nights there while I look for a place for the rest of the week. So I start my hour drive there, to LeHigh Acres, when I get closer I spy something in the fading sunset……an ABANDONED PLANE on an ABANDONED AIRFIELD!!! I swear! I quickly mark the spot so I can return and shoot when there is good light (which was this morning).
TL;DR> (Too Long, Didn’t Read section): If I had not trusted my instincts, if I have been closed off to what the ‘Verse was laying out for me, If I had been on a schedule I would NOT have found these places and met these people. I would not have driven to the General Store and gotten some killers shots. I would NOT know some history of the area. I would NOT have met the nice woman and her brother (and dog). I would NOT have been able to take photographs she has been wanting for years. I would NOT have seen that boat name. I would NOT have found the abandoned airplane.
Please open your mind and trust that voice in your head. Life is too short for ‘could haves, would haves’. I love what I do. I love making connections through photography and my art. Listen to what the Universe it telling you.