Sunday morning. I wake up to the sound of rain. Rainwater pools on the back patio. I grab my coat, keys and camera and head for the Jeep, ready to aimlessly drive around downtown, go for a bit of a wander, visit the three storefronts that are my regular stops on a photo wander because over their neon lights and vintage signage.

Rain slaps the windshield and pelts down my driver side window. A few cars brave the weather, but most people still sleep. It’s 6:15am.

After thirty minutes of drifting through residential neighborhoods, over the freeway, through Ganesha Park, I decide to head home. On Mission Blvd., I glance to my left and see a shopkeeper leaning in the open doorway of his store. I immediately love his posture, open, relaxed, waiting and pull a U-turn to park in front of his store.

“I’m Wes. I was just driving by looking for opportunities for photographs. I love how you are standing there. Can I take your picture?”

“I’m Ramses. Ram. I don’t know why you would want to take my picture. But ok.”

I move the Jeep to the other side of the street and shoot a few photos.

I walk over to his side of the street to say thank you. He says,

“Beautiful morning out here. Look at the fall leaves. Look at the rain. Look at that beautiful church,” pointing across the street.

“You don’t have to go to Hawaii. Beauty is here. I was listening to God say, “Enjoy this beautiful morning. It’s something, right?”

“Yes, you’re right. Would you mind if I take a portrait of you?”

“Why me?”

“You were just saying that anything could be beautiful if we just open our eyes to see what’s right in front of us. So, I want to take your picture.”

“Sure, alright, go ahead.”

The morning light catches the fallen leaves on the cracked asphalt of the street. I thank him and offer to send him the photos.

“Why? No. They are for you.”

I say goodbye.

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