Alone at the Hanalei Bridge

Photography of steel girders and rivets of an old bridge in Hanalei, Kauai

Evidently, I’m an ENFP. At least, those are the letters that the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator uses to describe my personality. That “E” you see in ENFP suggests that I’m an extrovert, meaning that my batteries are recharged by interacting with other people.

Meyers-Briggs, could it be that you don’t really know me that well?

Now, I can’t deny that I enjoy being around other people. Friends, family, strangers, and even opponents all make life a richer and more interesting experience. Each person alive on this planet unites a unique combination of nature and nurture, which brings them to develop different attitudes and worldviews. And my faith compels me to show love to everyone with whom I come in contact. There’s nothing quite like being loved in return.

But if I’m honest, my sails are filled most when I can get some time to myself. The opportunity to be alone with my thoughts is a welcome escape. The chance to wake up earlier than the rest of my family fills me up with energy. Riding a bike on flowing single track in the mountains — far away from the sound of traffic — is blessed relief.

Even when I’m travelling with others, I relish the chance to explore a bit on my own. When I do this, it is as though the new sights and sounds I’m experiencing are all my own even if only for a few minutes: Hiking a trail at Jenkinson Lake in the early morning. Walking off sleeplessness in the heart of Waterford, Ireland at 3:00 AM. Going for a run around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem when I have no idea where I’m going. I suppose I don’t mind getting a little lost if it means that I have some time alone.

Perhaps this need to be alone explains some of my love affair with photography. It leads me off the beaten path to capture a view of people, places, and things that I and others haven’t yet seen. And if that view is something truly special, I can share it with others.

At least, that’s the ideal. For when you’re blessed with family like I am, It can be tricky to carve out moments all your own.

A trip to the Island of Kauai drew my family and in-laws together for days of lazing on the sand, exploring the jungle, and eating too much good stuff. These are fun and generous folks who make travelling a delight. And seeing this beautiful corner of our country (this is the U.S.?!) through my children’s eyes never fails to teach me new things. But after many days of moving en masse together, I just had to borrow the rental van for a bit of exploration all on my own.

I didn’t quite feel like Indiana Jones while driving a Chrysler Town and Country, but I was ecstatic to venture down to the Lower Hanalei Valley all the same. Spectacular roadside vistas of this taro-filled spot are in abundant supply from your car, but I wanted to get down into the valley and photograph it up close. I hopped out of the van and walked along the banks of the Hanalei river, which seems to flow on “island time” like the rest of life in this place.

As I stopped to just breathe and enjoy the quiet, I noticed the finer details of the Hanalei Bridge you see in this photo: rivets, steel girders, concrete, and planks of treated timber. Everything about the bridge screams “industrial” in the midst of a place that whispers “garden”. In just looking at the thing, you get the impression that mainlanders created this solution for the islanders. And as it turns out, a simple raft ferried wagons and early cars across this river for decades, before an iron bridge was built and later succeeded by this warren-truss steel bridge. Heck, you can read all about the Hanalei Bridge here.

The scene was a place of great contrast, of both peace and mechanical construction. And I was there all by myself…*sigh*. I knew I had to capture it with the ol’ camera.

I’ll head to work in a few minutes to be around a team of folks with whom I love to serve. But before long, I may just daydream a bit about a bit of alone time somewhere like the Hanalei Bridge.

Where do you go to recharge your batteries? Sound off in the comments below!