Think glorious autumn day -- crisp, cold -- but not that biting cold. Just the bracing morning chill that keeps us walking briskly, hands in gloves, scarves wrapped around the neck, leaves rustling at our feet.
Add a bright blue sky speckled with puffy white clouds. The first sun, I might add in days. And color. Glorious color.
I decided to take a walk around the ditch (thank you, Rick), camera in hand, for what could be the last of the color. Certainly the walk down brought some splash!
But the ditch itself was looking more muted. There may still be leaves on the trees, but clearly, we are moving toward the end of fall, even though autumn continues until the solstice.
I reveled in the tons of brown and gold.
No flaming red -- just deep burgundy.
A jogger, a few dogwalkers, the occasional duck surrounded me as I walked around the giant pond.
Can you see the heron in this photo? (Harry, I call him)
What about this one?
Yes, now you have him!
This heron reminded me of a very rich post I read by Anno
on Saturday. "It's all junk," she said, and then richly created four scenes she had observed the following week in such detail that one could feel the story beginning. She'd had no time for writing, yet I contend she was "writing" all along.
Why does this heron remind me of Anno's post? It's simple. You really had to look to find him.
I'd been walking about and I thought I was really looking at things -- framing them, mentally editing as I looked for the right view.
Yet he blended in with the environment so completely, I missed him. He certainly wasn't obvious. In fact, it was only at certain angles that I could see he hadn't disappeared.
He stood, straight, tall and very still, surveying his pond. His neck would extend, slowly, deliberately. I wasn't sure what he was looking for -- but he knew. When he saw it, his head dipped quickly into the water. I was too far away to see what came out, but I suspect it was the first course.
I would contend that the first skill of any writer, artist, doctor, teacher, cook, parent, scientist isn't a technical one. No grand vocabulary, mix of media or surgeon's knife can bring about an ideal end if the artist doesn't first observe.
It's in "seeing" (or "listening," if you like) that we note the little things that may seem irrelevant, yet carry an importance all their own. Try people watching (read Anno's post) -- there are stories there. The child or partner who says, "OK," when asked "how was today," may not mean "OK" at all.
I'm not saying we have to read between the lines on anything that is said. But sometimes there are important messages in what isn't said. Messages that require further investigation.
It's very easy to fall into the patterns of our lives. We go to someone's house and we don't notice things have changed. A new outfit, a haircut, a new chair. The mess finally cleaned off the table. Maybe we notice and don't say.
I nearly missed Harry the Heron. That would have been oh, so sad.
Some folks will go to great ends for photography. In Michael Maurer Smith's case, it's New Mexico!