Miracle. All of It.

It’s 5:52 a.m., yesterday morning.

I’m done with The Cove Park portion of my 5 mile walk, and it’s the last 7/10s of a mile in the home stretch. On asphalt. Through the side streets. Heading home.

I’m tired. I’m dragging. And my head has shifted to Work.

I slip the cap on the lens while I’m walking (because one cannot waste precious minutes).  I tuck the camera into the sling, zip up the bag, and swing it over my shoulder. I accelerate my pace. And practice my breathing as instructed by James Nestor. (Because he’s so deep into my consciousness, I can’t take 10 breaths without thinking about his instruction.)

I round the corner onto Anthony Lane and hear a rustle.

And there they are. The two of them. Staring at me.

I freeze.

They freeze.

Please. Please don’t move. I slide my sling from back to front, and start unzipping the bag. I don’t take my eyes off them.

Please. Please don’t move. I don’t know anything about shutter speed. Continuous bursts. Or whatever-the-Hell-else I need to catch you in motion.

I grab the camera. My hands shake, the lens hood flies off and hits the ground. The lens cap follows and rolls a foot or two on the shoulder. My God Man. Get a Grip. You’re going to blow this.

Jack turns to his brother: “Is this amateur hour?  Can you believe this guy?”  “No sh*t. I’m getting tired of posing here.”

I raise the camera.

I see a thin film through the view finder. OMG, the humidity is fogging up the lens.

It clears.

And then comes the camera shake. I tuck my elbows in tight to my body. My breaths are short and quick, hot little puffs.

I move my index finger to the shutter, ever so gently.

I zoom in on my targets.

Now!

And Bam! I got it!  And another. And another. And another. And another.

They turn to walk to the woods.

I watch them disappear.

Wow, so Beautiful.  Miracle, all of it.


Notes:

  • Photos: Mine! A Miracle! July 27 2020.
  • Post Inspired by Kiki. She told me that if I didn’t share this story, she would send the Dale and Sawsan posse after me. So here it is.
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Walking. Anybody Can Do This. (Not)

2:30 a.m., I’m wide awake, ready to start the day. Hello Day!

It’s a few hours before I set off on the 55th consecutive day of a five-mile walk to greet the sunrise at Cove Island Park.

I’m anxious to see what’s in store for me this morning. And worried that I might sleep through the 4:55 am to 5:15 a.m. peak feeding time for the waterfowl. Normal people set an alarm. I have four gadgets on the night stand next to me ready to jump into action. But for some reason I can’t explain, I don’t. I can’t. A life time of never needing an alarm to get up, I’m not going to start now. I don’t change. And, let’s face it, You don’t either.

4:25 a.m.  I gather up the camera gear. I double check to find the memory card is in its place — the recollection of backtracking 1.5 miles three days ago, getting soaked by a sprinkler system that turned on at 5 a.m., cursing the rest of the way home, and needing to take the car to the park for fear of missing feeding time. All of this is fresh. And it ain’t going to happen today.

I throw the sling around my shoulder. Take a long swig of ice cold water. And I’m out the door.

Photography.  Camera. New hobby thing. Mixing it up a bit.

I’ve watched hundreds of instructional videos on Youtube. Paged through the camera user manual – a lot of damn good this did.  Texted back and forth with a buddy who gave me some tips.

ISO. Shutter speed. Aperture.  Exposure Compensation. Continuous tracking. EVF. LCD. Autofocus. Manual Focus. Single Point. Zone. Wide Angle. Tracking. Single shot. Burst. Still. Video.  Good God. My Head is spinning.

Then add to the soup, small (very) buttons. A small, sensitive touchscreen. Clumsy, large hands. Not yet arthritic, thank God, not yet anyway, something to look forward to. Throw in farsightedness, and you have menus and pop-ups jumping in and out. And blood pressure surging. Jesus, I’m of average intelligence, it just can’t be this hard.

And forget the quality (and breathtaking expense) of the camera equipment, lenses, battery (and back up), and memory cards, there’s so much more to this Photography-thing that was lost on me. [Read more…]

House on Fire


Photo: Wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk carries a koala out of a burning forest to safety on Kangaroo Island, southwest of Adelaide, Australia, on January 7, 2020. Photograph by David Mariuz.

The Atlantic: Animals Rescued From Australia’s Bushfires. January 9, 2020:

“The horrific wildfires that have been burning across Australia for months now have taken a severe toll on the animals that called the scorched lands home. Estimates of the number of animals killed by the fires range from hundreds of millions to more than 1 billion. Volunteers and crews from Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service have been doing what they can to help some of the kangaroos, koalas, lizards, and birds that can be rescued and treated. Ranchers and pet owners have been working to keep the animals in their care secure when possible, but many farm animals have been killed as well. As much as one-third of Australia’s Kangaroo Island has burned so far, with wildlife experts fearing that more than half of the island’s 50,000 koalas have been killed.”

Heartbreaking? (No, worse)

This Heartbreakbreaking Photo Reveals a Troubling Reality.  A small estuary seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, drifts in the polluted waters near Sumbawa Besar, Sumbara Island, Indonesia. Photographer Justin Hofman‘s image of a seahorse swimming with a discarded cotton swab illustrates the issues of pollution in our oceans. (Source: NationalGeographic.com, Sept 19, 2017)

Where’s the church for things like this?

It’s hard to hurt things.
Isn’t it.
I’m afraid of spiders but I still scoop them cold
into my hands & let them free. Where’s the church
for things like this.

~ Talin Tahajian, from “No steeple,” published in Cosmonauts Avenue


Photo: Nicolai Græsdal with Spider. Quote: via bostonpoetryslam

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Koustav-Maity-birds-cute-baby


Federal Recreation Lands Photo Contest. Honorable Mention selection for “Wildlife” by Koustav Maity, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Source: Recreation.gov

Floating on their backs and saying, Urr.

sea-lion-close-up

I was catching on to sea lions. Walk into the water. Instantly sea lions surround you, even if none has been in sight. To say that they come to play with you is not especially anthropomorphic. Animals play. The bull sea lions are off patrolling their territorial shores; these are the cows and young, which range freely. A five-foot sea lion peers intently into your face, then urges her muzzle gently against your underwater mask and searches your eyes without blinking. Next she rolls upside down and slides along the length of your floating body, rolls again, and casts a long glance back at your eyes. You are, I believe, supposed to follow, and think up something clever in return. You can play games with sea lions in the water using shells or bits of leaf, if you are willing. You can spin on your vertical axis and a sea lion will swim circles around you, keeping her face always six inches from yours, as though she were tethered. You can make a game of touching their back flippers, say, and the sea lions will understand at once; somersaulting conveniently before your clumsy hands, they will give you an excellent field of back flippers. And when you leave the water, they follow. They don’t want you to go. They porpoise to the shore, popping their heads up when they lose you and casting about, then speeding to your side and emitting a choked series of vocal notes. If you won’t relent, they disappear, barking; but if you sit on the beach with so much as a foot in the water, two or three will station with you, floating on their backs and saying, Urr.

~ Annie Dillard, “Life on the Rocks: The Galapagos.” Teaching a Stone to Talk.


Notes:

The whale’s sonar began to click through my body. Click-click-click.

sperm-whale

Dr. Philip Hoare: wsj.com: Swimming with Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean:

“I’d been fascinated—obsessed, really—with whales since I was a boy…It wasn’t till the year 2000 that I came face-to-face with the real animals, on a whale-watching tour off the coast of Cape Cod. Nothing compares with the sight of a 50-foot, 50-ton humpback breaching a dozen yards off your boat, surrounded by a halo of glistening sea spray…

…The water was calm and the animals were socializing at the surface. There was no time to put on my wet suit; I jammed on my fins, pulled on a mask and snorkel and squeaked over the side of boat—and into the profound…Suddenly, there they were, only a bus-length away: more than a dozen leviathans. My vision was wall-to-wall whales. I could feel my heart beating hard against my rib cage. The largest of the animals detached itself from the pod and began to swim directly at me…

…The whale kept on coming. “OK,” I thought. “It’s either going to ram me with that enormous head—or it’s going to open its mouth at the last moment.”

…But just as I was reconciling myself to the inevitable, I felt—I didn’t hear—the whale’s sonar begin to click through my body. Click-click-click. Through my skull, through my sternum, its exquisitely accurate echo location scanning me like an MRI…The whale came within an arm’s reach. I could have touched it, but I knew that wasn’t part of the contract. It turned on its side and looked me right in the eye. It was a look of sentience, and of comprehension…

…Then the whale dove into its domain, from the blue into the black below. I laughed to myself, out of relief or ecstasy. That night, when I closed my eyes, the whale swam into my head. It’s still there now.

Read Dr. Hoare’s full article: Swimming With Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean. Find his book here: The Sea Inside.


Notes:

I, Elephant


Do you know what is like to be like an elephant? walk like an elephant? eat like an elephant?


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Up. Out of Bed. This way.

monday morning



%d bloggers like this: