I’m definitely older these days, and I think I’m also wiser, in my old age. All my life I was guilty of the mindset that said, “If only I had _______, then life would be perfect.” Sometimes it was something as silly as the perfect piece of furniture for that empty corner, and other times it was a big wish like a ‘dream house’ or, later I scaled back to a ‘dream kitchen’, and patted myself on the back for being less greedy. In the last few years I’ve been yearning to live in a location that would give me a perfect view of the sunset or sunrise right from my own back yard, surely that that would make life itself perfect. But this morning it occurs to me that life is perfect just as it is. And, truthfully, it always was, because of the people I love and who love me back, and the joy of old friends who ‘knew you when’ and love you anyhow. Life is good…
Life is funny. It operates in it’s own time, on it’s own schedule. Like this picture of One-Foot Fred that I came across this morning. It was taken at sunset and I never go to Aripeka at sunset, but obviously I did that day in 2018. Every now and then you wake up in the morning with your head on straight, or so you think, your ducks in a row, you think, and you are in charge of things and know which end is up. And by that evening your there has been a sea-change in your perspective. I’ve experienced this in it’s saddest form, and finding my way from there has been quite the process. But you muddle on and eventually you get yourself together, you know where you stand and how your life is going to be. And that’s when life might just decide to throw you a curve ball in the most unexpected and welcome of ways, and your heart warms to new possibilities. If this blog is among the missing while I savor this new reality then please be happy for me, I know I am.
I spent a day concentrating on my various twinges and trying to decide if my second Moderna shot was giving me side effects. I decided that I was fine, but I was home all day while I made up my mind. Packing actually. I’ll be riding up to a cousin’s house in Charleston tomorrow and family will be more on the agenda than photos. Of course I had the TV on as I packed, and my current binge watch of Criminal Minds came through with a charming quote today, from Mark Twain. I had to look it up;
“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not,but my faculties are decaying now, and soon I shall be so I cannot remember anything but the things that never happened.“
How charming is that? But sad because it’s true. And as a person who has lots of experience with her mother, and then her daughter, correcting her memories I think I can relate. The same episode ended with another quote that had me grabbing my phone to look it up;
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Kierkegaard said that.
The day began when I ran out front and took the feature photo at 6:30 AM. And this last I took at 6:45 PM. We will turn the clocks ahead tonight. Sunrises will be easier to get to, and sunsets will have me out later than I care to be.
I really ought to plan my photo trips a little better, but somehow they do seem to work out, one way or another. So maybe flying by the seat of my pants isn’t all bad. But looking up the travel time to Safety Harbor at 5 AM (30 minutes), and expecting it to be the same if I left at 6 AM, wasn’t my smartest move. I had less than 5 minutes until the sun peeked above the horizon this morning, I made it, but barely. Another photographer informed me that I had missed a beautiful moon set though. I have the app (PhotoPills) to let me be more aware of these photo ops, but I still haven’t learned to use it. Sigh. And still another photographer chose to inform me that I should get rid of my lens and buy the one that he had. I think this is the first time I’ve run into someone like that, photographers are generally a really nice group of people. I’m sticking with my lens, it’s the person behind the camera who leaves a bit to be desired sometimes.
LensBall gives you a different perspective, especially when the views are limited…
I don’t mean to imply that I do Sudoku to keep my mind sharp. When I titled this post I really meant keeping the pencil sharp, which is the hardest thing about doing Sudoku. Or was, for a little while. I came across this old, yellowed, Sudoku book in a bin not too long ago, so I picked it up and started doing the puzzles again. In order, turning the pages as I went. I went merrily along, after I realized that having my glasses on was a must, and a sharp point on my pencil, and an eraser that actually erased the pencil mark without leaving a dark smudge on the paper. My drawer full of old, sometimes unused, pencils and pens wasn’t cutting it. And then I spotted what looked to be a brand new pencil. Three of them actually. Nice and fat, with perfect points and erasers that appeared to be unused, I loved them. It took me a few days to realize that these pencils were titled ‘My First Ticonderoga’, meant for little kids, or senior citizens with fingers that don’t work as well as they once did.
All was well until I turned the page to the next puzzle and found that I had started the ‘hard’ section of puzzles. They weren’t kidding. So I looked up Sudoku strategies online and I think I may have to go back to caffeinated coffee if I’m going to make heads or tails of what they are saying. Even a sharp pencil won’t help me with these…
These cranes are the entire reason that I started writing this blog. These pictures are from nearly 4 years ago when my camera was new to me and they can’t be improved now, they are what they are. That was the February that two sandhill crane chicks hatched right on the island in my little pond in the back yard. I watched them hatch, I watched them leave with their parents every morning, and I watched them return to the pond in the late afternoon. I saw them as one lady-like chick who stayed close to her mother, and one adventurous chick who was off on his own just a bit. Several times I saw only one chick with it’s parents and I waited to see that second chick appear. Just as I would give up hope, thinking he had gotten a little too adventurous, he would appear out of the grasses, much to my relief. He was my favorite, even though it made me feel a little guilty to realize that I felt that way. Mothers aren’t supposed to play favorites.
Every story needs some drama, and theirs certainly had that. One afternoon I watched in horror as my favorite colt, as they are known as they grow, seemed to be dragging a wing. Again he was off by himself a little way from the family, and even more horrifying was that the parents seemed to be driving him away. I was heartbroken to see him leave the pond alone, trudging up the hill, dragging that wing. But a few minutes later the rest of the family followed, a little way behind but up the hill in the same direction that he had gone. I felt so helpless to be watching this and not able to do anything about it.
So you can imagine how I worried all day at work the next day, would they return the next evening, and would there be three or four in the family? When I saw them return as a family of three I was broken hearted, and mad too. I was upset enough that I told myself that I wouldn’t take pictures that day, not of just the three of them. But then they started to dance and I couldn’t help myself, I took pictures.
That isn’t the end of the story, I’m happy to say. Several days later I saw all four of them on a lawn in the neighborhood. The wounded colt was laying down, the rest of the family nearby. I called a rescue facility and was told that if they were with him then they were taking care of him, and that was best. I seldom saw them come back to the nest in the backyard after that, not to spend the night at least, but the last time I did see them out there I saw my wounded colt spread his wings and stretch. I choose to believe that he healed, and that he would be okay. It was about that time that I happened to take a photography class on how to start a blog, something I had given no thought to before, but we left the class with the bones of a blog in our computers, and I wanted to tell their story. I had no idea that four years later I’d still be writing, that I’d have made new friends through photography, or that I’d be so okay with the twists and turns my life has taken in the last six years. But I’m grateful.