Archives for posts with tag: pictures of birds

I woke early-ish, pulled on my clothes still only half awake, and grabbed my camera gear. I heard my Traveling Partner call out to me as I neared the door (“he’s awake?”) and turned back for a “see you in a little while” and a kiss. The sun hadn’t yet risen as I reached the highway heading out of town to the nearby nature preserve (great bird-watching, and well-maintained trails). Lovely morning for it, I thought to myself.

Sunrise over a misty morning along the marsh-side trail.

It’s a Sunday, and I’m thinking I’ll get out into the garden this morning. After I finish my coffee. After I upload all these photos. After I finish feeling more like relaxing than I feel like getting shit done. lol

It was a good morning for pictures of birds.

I enjoyed the drive. There was almost no traffic at all so early on a Sunday morning. I enjoyed the misty dawn and the pale pinks and peaches of the sunrise as it developed into a new day. I enjoyed the walk down the trail alongside the marsh. I enjoyed the moments, sitting quietly, watching for the next interesting picture to unfold in front of my camera lens.

I wasn’t alone on the trail. I wasn’t even the only person on the trail with a camera.

The last several times I’ve come to this location for my camera walk in the morning, I find myself parked next to the same other person. Another woman enjoying her morning walk, camera ready for action, a portable seat or cushion with her (I have a compact folding stool, myself). We greet each other as friends, at this point, and sometimes share a portion of the walk, even stopping for similar shots along our path. We talk of other locations we favor, and share experiences (“Did you see the pelicans?”, “I got a great shot of the swallows yesterday!”). We make jokes now about the morning not seeming complete if we don’t see the other person’s car in the parking lot. She has a much fancier camera and lens than I do. I mentioned how awesome it would be to have that kind of “reach”… she smiles and admits it is pretty nice, then comments that she often regrets the choice; it’s very heavy, and sometimes the weight limits how far she will walk. I admit that I enjoy the lightweight gear I’ve got so much that I don’t have any immediate plan to get a larger lens. We agree that the gear has less to do with the quality of our images than our limited skill – and our good fortune on timing and location. At some point, if we’re walking together as we were this morning, our paths will take us different directions. That’s the way of things, isn’t it? We are each having our own experience, walking our own paths, and any momentary companionship, however genial, is quite temporary. 🙂

I smile and sip my coffee. Does it taste better because I went for quite a long walk beforehand? I for sure appreciate the warmth of the mug in my hand after the chilly morning on the marsh.

Pelican. Also, swallow. This is what “luck” looks like in a photograph.

I finally see a pelican, after a couple visits to this location. People on the trail had been mentioning them for the last couple times I’ve been here, but I haven’t seen them. Probably didn’t walk far enough in the correct direction…? This morning, I see one solitary pelican. I watch for awhile, take numerous pictures, and while I was doing that, I was got seriously lucky; the pelican flared out its wings, and shook itself out in the early morning light. Amusingly, I also captured a swallow in flight in the same shot. I’ve been trying to take pictures of swallows there over the marsh for weeks without luck; they’re very fast, and swoopy. Hard to get a good picture. This time, I got several good pictures of swallows – but I didn’t know it until I got home. They just happened to be in several pictures I took of other things. LOL That’s so often the way of it, is it not? I think there’s something to be learned here.

Where does this path lead?

As the morning began to warm, more visitors appear on the trail. I turn back toward the parking lot, thinking thoughts of home, of love, and of a good cup of coffee. I think about perspective, and of a future not yet determined. I fill my lungs with the scent of meadow flowers, realizing how very much I enjoy the fragrance of wild carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) and yarrow, mingling with meadow grasses and late summer wildflowers.

What a pleasant morning. I think about the garden as I sip my coffee. Seeds are selected. Crops that are finished have been cleared out, their left over leaves and stems chopped up and mulched into the bed. Crops that just didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and seem unlikely to produce a harvest this year (looking your way, melons) will be cleared away, too. Then I’ll add compost and bring the bed level up again (it compressed quite a bit after I initially filled the raised bed my partner built for me), and plant new crops for autumn harvest and for wintering over. I have a lot to learn about gardening. LOL

I sip my coffee and grin at myself at ever thinking I had any idea about “how to garden”. I’ve been gardening in my half-assed way for some 50 years… since I was a kid. My parents had a substantial garden, and I labored in it weekends and summers (mostly weeding and bitching about weeding). I had a small plot of my own that I rather foolishly planted in Jerusalem artichokes, which thrived to an unimaginable degree – cool enough and the flowers were pretty, but no one in the family actually enjoyed them as a food. So… kinda silly and as it turned out, a waste of garden space. Very low maintenance. I learned nothing much from the endeavor besides this one important lesson; grow what you will use and enjoy. That’s not nothing, but hardly worth the mammoth effort involved in keeping those ‘chokes cut back season after season. lol

I have since had small garden beds, container gardens, and patio gardens… all rather fortunately focused mostly on roses and a few herbs. Occasionally I’d grow some veggies, and get something wonderful for my efforts (supremely tasty cherry tomatoes one year, another year a bumper crop of amazing Swiss chard), but I’ve tended to be both lazy and disorganized, and prone to letting shit fall behind when the heat is worst and the garden most in need of my attention day-to-day. No excuses, and I’m not looking to rationalize my results, I’m just saying; I am not my idea of a “great gardener”.

Now I’ve got this home that is mine, and this raised bed out front that my partner built for me, surrounded by flower beds. I’ll only get the results I work for, and that’s one of life’s immutable truths, isn’t it? My partner has set me up for success, though, with a raised bed that is comfortable to work in, close to water, within constant view, and I do adore it. 😀 I find myself ready to admit I’m not a very good gardener and work toward being a better one. That’s a nice place to find myself. It’s a good place to stand, considering options and looking ahead.

It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and “getting caught up” – very much in the way I typically would on a routine work day. I check my email. Take a look at my task list. Take a look at my calendar and note the time of upcoming calls and meetings. Very ordinary work-type stuff. Today it’s a mix of working on a project for my Traveling Partner’s business, handling job search details (an interview, an appointment), and a couple calls to contractors for estimates on work needed at the house. Living life is filled with verbs. 🙂

Sometimes life has balloons, too.

I started the day the way I start most days (for awhile now…since June?) – out in a meadow or on a forest trail, camera in hand, taking pictures of birds, flowers, sunrises, small mammals… walking and breathing and enjoying the morning. I’m not sure how this routine developed, but it is a convenient solution to the need to stay motivated to get enough exercise for good health, and also the desire to let my partner actually sleep in some, at least now and then. I’m often the earlier riser of the two of us, and I’m rather stupid and clumsy when I first wake up, which can be noisy. Easier to slip away as quietly as I am able, as soon after waking and dressing as I can, and just enjoy that time with the camera and the rising sun, without waking my partner. I also just fucking love starting my day this way. 🙂

One morning, the location where I parked had quite a few bunnies enjoying the morning with me.

The sun had been up before 5:00 a.m. when I began slipping away first thing with my camera. Now the sunrise is starting much later, some minutes after 6:00 a.m. That trend will continue for some time, but lacking any early morning constraints on my time associated with employment, I can easily just “go with it” as the sunrise shifts toward autumn days. Super relaxing. No pressure. Sometimes I grab a coffee on my way, most often I don’t. It’s not an important detail. I’ve a couple nearby favorite locations – one is a forested trail I enjoy walking any time. The other is a vast meadow split down the middle by a park with some trees. On one side, that lovely meadow is filled with little birds as the sun rises. On the other side, the sun rise itself, trees and some distant mountains on the horizon. Convenient parking in all cases.

My Traveling Partner made a great ground pod for my camera. I take it with me most mornings.

One chillier than usual morning, I set up the ground pod for my camera, and sat in the car with a coffee and my remote shutter, taking pictures, occasionally repositioning the camera, until it was a bit warmer. Most mornings, I throw my camera bag over my shoulder, and walk. I pause here and there to get some shots, and then walk on. It’s lovely time, and I return home feeling recharged, calm, and centered. Is it the 100% reliable “cure” for stress? Nope. Nothing is. It is, however, time well-spent, and pleasant, fulfilling, and satisfying. Close enough.

Sometimes enough has to be enough. 😉

What will you do to take care of yourself today? It’s not too late to put yourself at the top of your “to do” list. 😀 It’s time to begin again.