Sometimes I remember to breathe.
Body memories of coping mechanisms learned long ago have taken over and now control the direction of the day. As much as I want to curl into a tight little ball and rock the day away, I know that's a solution that won't move me forward towards the light at the end of tunnel I've been told I'm in.
Friday was a day filled with internal chaos--one of those days when my body couldn't distinguish excitement from anxiety. I wanted to find escape in sleep but I had work to do and, more importantly, I needed to pick up tickets to see RUSH--a last-minute gift we didn't refuse. I grabbed my camera and headed out of the city towards the back roads to help settle my torn-to-pieces feelings.
I know this route so well, I drive from point to point without remembering a single thing along the way. Parking my car across from the pond, I get out and I step into the road without looking in either direction. I vaguely hear a car's horn blare. I wave, shrug, and continue.
Up above this small basin, bumble bees hover around flowering weeds. I hunker down among them--we're heedless of each other. Twelve feet below, a dragonfly skims the surface of the lily pads. With the sun in my eyes it's difficult to discern the source of other movements. Upright again, I circle the pond in search of a better vantage point.
On the south side, my feet have joined others in cutting a narrow path down to the water's edge. A frog glares at my approach. Just for kicks, I shoot it. Stopping just before the brink of the surrounding bog, I see damselflies zipping by. My motion doesn't go unnoticed--in an eye-blink, they're gone.
Whenever I'm among these dainty beings, I attempt to remain motionless--doing my best to blend into the tall grasses. As I sit back on my heels, I find a comfortable balance point. Taking long slow breaths to keep my body steady, I slowly settle into outer quiet.
After a brief wait, one then two then countless more return. For a time I simply watch their balletic interplay. They thrust forward with wings moving in unison and quickly turn with hind and front wings stroking asynchronously. Occasionally one stops to rest.
I start shooting those that appear to be at rest. In fact, there's always some part of their tiny bodies in motion. When the one I'm watching and shooting takes wing, I lower my camera, track another until it rests, lift my camera, zoom, focus, and shoot. At times, all are in motion. I lower my camera and watch.
That's when I noticed my shoulders had relaxed, no longer hugging my ears. The outer quiet had seeped inside following the line created by each deep breath. My mind was empty of everything except wonder. I felt the warm sun on my face, realized the humidity had dissipated, and when I turned my head noticed something I had missed. Not 20 feet away, beautiful pink water lilies were blooming.
I stayed near the pond a bit longer to more mindfully build on my sense of ease and connection to the earth. When it was time to leave, I wandered up to the road, stopped, looked both ways, let traffic pass, and crossed the street to my car.
Here are a few shots of what I saw. Each of these can be enlarged using your mouse. Click.
Male Eastern Forktail Damselfly
Male Eastern Forktail Damselfly
This male wiggled its tail up and down in some ritual I didn't understand. Fun to watch; tough to capture.
Male Fragile Forktail Damselfly (best shot I could get)
To make a lengthy post longer, this last shot is one I'm amazed with. I'd been wondering if it was possible to capture a dragonfly in flight with my trusty Nikon D40X 200mm lens. I've tried a few times and the results have been less than stellar. As I shot this damsel, I accidentally caught her lifting off the pad. Below and in front of her, the shadow of her legs is visible. Directly to the left, is a distinctively colored blur of a male forktail flying toward her. Note its full-winged shadow behind and to the left of the female. Below the lily pad is a tadpole. When I uploaded this set of photos and shuffled through them for keepers, I almost trashed this one. Pretty damned happy I didn't.
Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly lifting off a lily pad.
RUSH Archangel Tour: best smart phone photo I've ever taken. BOOYAH!