I have wandered this piece of coast on Aeroe island for almost 15 years on and off, 7 of them with my camera in hand on most occasions. It started to feel like my beach, my road, my misty spring and autumn mornings. Last year when I learned that my new neighbour was a fellow photographer, a fellow nature lover, and on top of that a highly succesful instagrammer, I felt a nasty and completely irrational fear creep over me (irrational because she is one of the kindest most gracious people I know). A fear that because of her reach and network, my beach would now be known as her beach, that my island would be known as her island, that my work and my projects which had been planned for years would be seen as copies of her work and her projects.
All that fear comes from a lack mentality. The notion that there is a finite amount of fulfilment in the world, a finite amount of love/success/happiness/attention/beauty/opportunity/clients... whatever you choose to call it.
I practice daily to teach myself to believe in a world of plenty, a world where there is enough to go around. A world where others' successes do not take away from mine. Because that is the kind of world I want to live in. Competition from an equal on my own turf has tested my belief, made me live it and not just think it. The more scared I have become the more I have DARED, the more scarcity I have felt the more I have chosen to GIVE. And that belief brought me a kindred spirit (for life I believe), and I am very grateful for that.
Now I often text Maria when there is a particularly beautiful sunrise, because I know she is seeing exactly the same thing from a few metres down the road, and because I know she appreciates it exactly as much as I do.
When I went to the beach a few mornings ago on a 5.30am photo walk to capture the mist lifting as I have done so many times before, Maria saw me drive by from her bedroom window, texted me to ask where I was going and minutes later we met on the beach, me in kneelong sweater and rubberboots with my camera around my neck, her in her robe and slippers with their cat Camille close behind. After a hug and a little chat we parted ways, and as I turned around to look back I couldn't help but take a picture because she looked like a queen walking there, the mist glowing around her in the morning light, each of her steps an elegant considered movement, her robe gently wrapping around her slender body like that of a greek goddess. And I thought to myself, how lucky I am that she and I, with so much in common, on this vast planet, should happen to end up on the same little island, living on the same little stretch of land.