The other afternoon, I was speeding up the interstate, when off to my right, with the lighting absolutely perfect, was a massive flock of snow geese, and a handful of Canadian geese. There were probably a few hundred in the air, with several more on the ground. It was a blizzard of white birds in rare November, beautiful lighting.
My heart jumped. It leapt for joy. There was an actual pull from my chest, towards the field. My instinct was to pull over, whip out my camera, and fire away, trying to capture that moment of perfection. I was instantaneously elevated.
About three nanoseconds later, I wished I had my good camera with me. The one with the beautiful lenses that do an amazing job of crystallizing the moment. And then I remembered the groceries I’d just bought; the ones that needed to be put in the freezer and fridge. But the kicker was my location: our local interstate, with its speed limit of 70 mph and moderate traffic. It was not a safe place to pull over unless absolutely necessary; and this was not absolutely necessary (although it almost felt like it at the time).
On the other side of the field of geese, there’s a road that runs parallel to the interstate, and I knew a place I could safely pull over and fire away with my camera. But my heart sank a little bit because it would mean shooting in to the sun. There are times for shooting into the sun, but this wasn’t one of them. With a tentative heart, I took my exit, turned onto this parallel road, and found my parking spot.
The sheer number of birds was amazing! The flock went on and on, squadrons taking flight and then circling back around to land just a bit away from where my presence disturbed them. I snapped and snapped, zooming in and out, switching between still shots and a quick video. I was in heaven.
[Click on a photo below to see it enlarged and presented as a slide show.]
The only time I even noticed the road I was standing just off, was when either a dump truck and trailer went flying by, or a tractor-trailer. As my hair was blown across my eyes, I searched my pockets for an elastic, in vain. Next time I’ll tuck one away, just in case.
For about fifteen minutes, there was nothing in the world except me and those birds: walking around pecking for a meal, lifting off to find another place, and circling around, feet outstretched and wings bent in preparation for landing. Oh, there was one more thing there: the sun. The glorious rare November sun casting its beams across the valley, lighting up everything in its path.
This experience is just one reason I always carry a small camera in my pocketbook. Opportunities to light up my heart can happen anywhere, any time. And the desire to preserve these moments is often so strong, I can feel the ropes of desire pulling my chest towards joy.
What in your life lights you up, fills you with unbridled joy, and makes you forget about everything but that one thing you’re engaged with? Whatever those things are, make sure they’re a regular part of your life. It’s important to connect with your joy as often as you need it, all year long.