I am beginning to realize how oblivious I’ve been to the perfection all around me, to every day miracles. With a busy life and ever churning mind, who cares what kind of trees are in my neighbourhood? Who takes time to notice the immense beauty in the minute details of our four season climate with glittering snow on bare branches, sprouts and blossoms glistening with rain in the spring, or lavish green growth, wildflowers and butterflies in the summer? I’m embarrassed that the answer is “ME” but that’s changing. Next I will experience the rich colours of autumn with new eyes now that I am finally paying attention..
I realize this probably sounds crazy to those who have always been present and aware of the wonders around them, who know exactly what trees and blossoms and flowers bloom when, and to people who watch the flying creatures in our world, who perhaps have birdfeeders and binoculars and are able to identify the various species, following their habits and listening to their songs.
But it is possible to be conscious of all this and at the same time, unimpressed, if you’ve never looked closely enough. I have to credit a new hobby with helping me to experience my surroundings with new wonder – photography. It started with video editing and then an idea about a new way to tell a story using accompanying illustrations by taking staged scenes outdoors with my ‘imaginary friends’. (More on this topic in a future blog). Then came a burgeoning curiousity about the variety of trees and bushes, creeks, ponds, and lakes, flowers and blossoms, grasses and bulrushes, and all the creatures that lived among them.
Since then, I’ve had a few chance ‘encounters’ that have hooked me for good.
I took vacation during the first two weeks of July at our getaway home in Collingwood on Silver Creek. Co-hosting a ‘rubber duck race and wing ding/bbq’ was a busy start but, after that, it was a relaxing vacation intermixed with golf, quiet nights and some day trips.
On July 5th, golfing at Osler Brook with my sister, mother, and aunt, I saw my first Tiger Swallowtail. If I’d ever seen one before, I
didn’t look closely enough for it to register in my mind. As they are common to this area, I don’t know how I could have missed them. I’ve since seen them featured on book covers and cards but with this encounter, I was like a child awakened to the world. The vibrant yellow and black butterfly was flitting about and drinking from a Butterfly bush (who knew there was such a plant?) With my new camera handy in the golf cart, I was able to capture this moment so here is my first new friend. I loved this picture and stared it many times over the following days.
A few days later, on July 9th (my birthday), I was sitting alone on our back porch with my camera when I heard loud rustling in the woods near the creek on our property. I’m ashamed to admit that if this had happened last year, I probably would have run into the house and peered at it through the window. Instead, I moved a little closer and had my first encounter with a deer. I thought when this doe saw me, it would run the other way but instead, it was curious and came around to the edge of the woods to stare at me. By this time, I had carefully walked down the yard to get a better view and was able to get a few good pictures of my new friend. I’m afraid I’m the one who bolted first, never having been brave around wild animals. I was surprised at how bold this deer was, not only staring at me but advancing. A few minutes later, after I chastised myself, I was back outside but it was gone. I’ve never seen a deer before or since on our property but it was a lovely birthday gift. Whenever I see this picture, it fills me with wonder.
So, now I am reluctant to go anywhere without my camera close by and I’ve had two more butterfly encounters. On the golf course again, I met another Swallowtail but this one was Black! Who knew there were a variety of different types of Swallowtails? Okay, probably many of you knew but I didn’t. Here’s the Black Swallowtail
having lunch. (Of course, I was in the middle of a Match Play competition when I came across this creature but I have my priorities right. And yes, we subsequently lost the match.. 🙂 )
After this second beautiful butterfly picture, I was determined to get a picture of a Monarch which is the only kind that I actually knew by name before this summer. The Monarchs teased me for weeks, flitting by on the golf course, on the roads, in my parents’ yard but never stopping long enough for me to get a picture. Then this weekend, when I least expected it, I stepped onto my back porch with my camera in hand and there was a Monarch, drinking from the Purple cornflowers at the edge of our deck. So, say hi to my newest friend…
Now that I am watching the trees and flowers and creatures that are everywhere on our planet, I remember some of the lessons that I’ve blogged about, especially about being present. Could it really be so simple as to just open your eyes and look around you?