As is customary when I have a striking bunch of gladioli, I was out in the back yard with my camera trying to capture their beauty. Being so focused on the task at hand I was rather surprised when a cobweb strand appeared in my view and then I noticed the little golden visitor too!
Photo 1: Golden visitor on Red Gladiolus
Photo 2: Hiding
Photo 3: Reappearing
Situational awareness is a useful skill and it requires paying careful attention to your surroundings. Since we were Bond movie fans as kids my brother often used to tell me to “Pay attention 007″ and I even use it on my kids now too.
Photo 1: Bee and Horse Chestnut flowers
In the Bond movies Q (the Quartermaster) famously says to James Bond “Now pay attention 007″. It’s remarkable how scenes and lines from movies spring to mind in various situations. I am usually so involved in my lists that I don’t pay attention to much else happening around me unless I have my camera in hand.
My camera increases my mindfulness since it focuses my attention. When I walk or even drive somewhere I often remember the locations of a particular flower or tree in bloom.Intention gives focus which in turn makes one more mindful.
The busyness of life and our emphasis on the next task does not usually allow this attention to permeate our days.
Photo 2: Butterfly on Thistle
I know that it can be learnt to a certain extent because when I have my camera I scan for interesting details all the time. It’s also interesting though that sometimes when I am shooting a particular bloom I shut out everything else around me. Not always a good thing when you’re taking photographs in the woods so tuning in the other peripheral senses at those times is useful.
The more attention you pay the better your situational awareness will be. It seems as with most other types of learning, the more you practice, the better you become.
A conversation I had just over a week ago sent my writing muse heading for the hills. We had been dancing in the exhilaration of sharing things that matter. Then got confronted by the point of view paradox. When she went into hiding my stream of consciousness writing went with her. Thankfully she is ready to reemerge today.
Photo 1: Rosebud in the rain
The impact of the disappearance of my muse was further confounded by one of the saddest events I’ve had to witness – the death of a mother humming bird and her two hatchlings.
There was such joy when the humming bird first started nesting in the large rosebush outside our front door. Every time I stepped out she would fly around in front of me and I wondered why she was there so often. Then my very observant husband (and fellow blogger at Remarkable Runs) pointed out the tiny nest. It was even cuter to see two tiny eggs inside!
Photo 2: Mother Humming bird on her nest in a rose bush (photo by Robin Thomas)
Then we had a heavy rainstorm. The following day I didn’t see her at all. On the second day I stood on a chair to peek into the nest and saw two tiny baby humming birds. I don’t deal with animals in distress very well – I found it very traumatic. So the first thing I did was to Google hummingbirds! The advice was to leave the nest alone as sometimes it would look abandoned but the mother would be out searching for food.
I went about my usual tasks and it was only later that afternoon when I went to check on the nest that I noticed her tiny crumpled corpse on the pebbles below the rosebush – she had perished in the storm. My heart broke. Then I went to look up how to feed the hatchlings. The prognosis did not look good as they don’t survive very long without regular feeding and they were so little that their chances were minimal anyway. When I checked later only the slightly larger one was still alive but I did not expect it to last much longer and I knew I had to let nature take its course.
I walked passed the rose bush with a heavy heart and my eyes kept going to the little nest. The next day I could not believe it when the hatchling was still alive! Such agony! I had to try something so brought the nest inside and tried to feed it but it was too little too late.
Later the afternoon the kids and I had a little funeral for the baby birds. We spoke about how lovely it was to see the mother fly, how brave she was to sit on the nest through the storm. How much she loved her little ones that she gave her life to protect them. How brave of the baby bird to fight to live without its mother.
Each day is a gift we must treasure.
Good bye little hummingbirds and thanks for bringing the joy of nature to our front door and reminding us about the circle of life.
Usage of the word ‘awesome’ has become increasingly common. So much so that it takes away some of the punch it can deliver. I still love using it though!
Photo 1: Singular beauty
Everything is awesome
After watching the Lego movie featuring the rather catchy song Everything is Awesome the lyrics stayed in my head for several days. My 5 year old daughter said it was the first ‘boy type’ movie she actually enjoyed. Now that statement would take another blog post to unpack but nevertheless the theme song was catchy to my kids too.
After watching the tv series Chuck and discovering Devon, aka Captain Awesome I also nicknamed my scientist husband Dr Awesome which he finds rather amusing. We would certainly like everything to be awesome all the time and being part of a team usually helps to get you there. Over use of the word can make the awesome seem mundane but there are tiny moments of ‘awesome’ happening throughout our days if we take the time to pay attention.
When I do my floral photography I can spend hours marvelling at the awesome display flowers create while simultaneously being beautiful and providing a vital link in the cycle of life.
When things get awful
Sometimes though life can be more awful than awesome. Sometimes shockingly awful things happen and in those moments it’s difficult to find the ‘awesome’.
When my Mum died last year it was awful for our family. The loss also reminded us of our own mortality.
To keep moving forward though we need to rediscover the ‘awesome’ as that gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Photo 2: Intricate detail on a pink Chrysanthemum
Finding the awesome
Then I watched a TED talk given by 70 year old Isabel Allende – “How to live passionately at any age” – she had decided to live her life with passion and make the most of the time she had. Inspirational!
The ‘awesome’ within us needs to be unleashed so the awful doesn’t squash us into pits of despair. When we release our own awesomeness and reflect and encourage the awesomeness of others then life feels more purposeful and meaningful.
There is only one of you. You are unique. What will you do with your ‘awesome’?
Getting together with a portrait photographer on my usual walk about the local park was lots of fun. Specimen spotting and talking to the sun to get the right light was also rather entertaining for her 2 year old charge who happened to be carrying a lovely sprig of lavender given to him by a passerby. When I got entranced by the blooms in the rose garden I also got caught on camera…
Photo 1: Caught in the Rose Garden
Photo 2: Fresh Yellow Rose
Photo 3: Rosey blues
Photo 4: After the rain
Photo 5: Rose refreshed
The excitement of the Christmas season is building steadily at our house and put me in a festive mood which of course spilled over into my photographs…
Photo 1: Festive Holly
Photo 2: Sledding with Dad
Photo 3: Gerbera Seeds and Sparkle
The delicate blooms of the Rose of Sharon are on show again on the creek trail close to our home. Conditions were not great for photos this morning as there was some wind but that just gave them a surreal look.
Photo 1: Rose of Sharon
Photo 2: Bud and bloom
Photo 3: Side by side
Photo 4: Blooming
Photo 5: Emerging
Photo 6: Visitor
Photo 7: Opening