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.
Gorgeous photos! I am usually in awe of trees and sunsets and will stop and gaze or snap a pic.
Thanks Darla. Ever since I saw an incredible view here in our little valley, and I didn’t have a camera with me, I now keep a smallish point and shoot in my purse. That morning, the layers of clouds defined the hills and smaller mountains, and the early sun peaked through with amazing corpuscular rays, it took my breath away.
We don’t seem to get many snow geese here, but we get a lot of Canadian geese. I love their honking sounds as they fly overhead. Pretty amazing birds. I know many people consider them to be a nuisance, but I enjoy them.
There were a small flock of Canadian geese in with the snow geese, and at first I didn’t know what they were. I grew up in New England, and what we had there were pretty much only a Canadian geese (other than the swan boats in Boston 😉 ). We also have trumpeter swans around, but I haven’t yet discovered where they’re putting down this year.
We are truly sisters from other misters. I understand, I know, I feel that pull in my chest, too. Then the logistics set in…wishing for the good camera and safe spot. I’ve missed so many photo ops because I’ve had neither…or that I’ve been too lazy or practical. Seeing your beautiful photos makes me want to be more prepared for the next opportunity. Thank you, Susan!
And for some reason, just watching it isn’t enough. I have to capture it. To freeze that moment and the feeling.
I know what you mean ❤️
So true Susan. Regular pursuit of joy is a balm to the soul. Gorgeous photos!
Thanks Sara! Taking photos truly is my zen. This time of year it’s tough, as we have so much rain and very poor light. But once in a while, the clouds are very high, or we get a peek at blue sky.
Those photos are amazing! I got a Nikon last year and am still fumbling, trying to figure it out. It’s on my list of things to do…right after starting my new job, organizing the house, finalizing my divorce, selling my company, traveling to Florida, learning to play the drums…wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah…your pictures are awesome and I hope to learn how to do that some day!!
Awww. Thanks. You’ll get there. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 10. I got my first SLR camera when I was 23, and had 2 lenses for it. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s and bought a digital SLR, that I really got into learning how to use all the modes the camera is capable of. And for certain subject matters, I’ll shoot fully manual (even with my little point and shoot model!). One of these days, I want to learn piano and guitar, right after I get my kitchen remodel finished and do our 2 horribly outdated bathrooms. And all of that will have to fit in between homeschooling the kid…
Your pics and prose have definitely got me buzzing!
Love how much you love photography. It’s rather infectious. 🙂
I feel that way about writing. I like to take notes when I’m somewhere like on the city bus (I think of them as verbal Polaroids). In the same way that you need to have a small camera on hand, I need something to write notes on — even if it’s just the back of an envelope.
I love that you take notes like that. Wonderful!