Friday, June 20, 2008

A Place to Land

Love is so free, so generous with Its reminders. Sometimes I see them, sometimes I don't. Sometimes, the camera shows them to me.

It is not uncommon, when I do make a photographic record, to feel that I am not a primary part of the transaction at all. It's as if the earth calls from across the way, says, "Hey, you there," and curls its little green or brown or bone-colored finger to draw me in. I am duly drawn. Sometimes I think I see why. But it is often later, when I view the image larger, that something is revealed--its
raison d'etre, let's say--which was blind to me at the moment of the "click". (Do you see a smiling, goofy, cartoon-like character in the image above? I didn't when I snapped it. I do now.)

Sometimes I want to tell the story of an image, how I came to be in that place on that day, in that moment. I always remember. Or, rather, know. I recognize the moment as I would recognize a sister or brother:
this happened here. It was this time of day, the light was like so. It is not about remembering, really. It is about presence. I am there--where else would I be? where else would I want to be?--when I am taking those photographs. I am there as the sun is there, or the wind, or the bird song. No one is making me be there, no one is rewarding me for being there, and I am seeking neither reward nor recognition. Love moves me and I respond, that is all. It's kind of like falling in love for the first time--every time! And everyone remembers their first love.

Last week, I was present for the simplest of moments--so simple that it could easily be dismissed as unremarkable. I found it remarkable, deeply rich like a good French Roast. This time I wasn't the middle man, the intermediary between Life and lens. This time I saw, I got it, and I got it direct.

It started with the City planting a replacement tree across the street. What a crew it took to accomplish this! Many muscle-bound men, big trucks, a loud and formidable stump-grinding machine, even a tank of water to nourish the new arrival. Stakes and ropes: they had thought of everything.

No sooner had these men packed up their shovels and brooms and driven off did a big blue jay fly onto the scene and
land you guessed it--as if it were the most natural thing in the world, as if it had always been there--in one of the tree's broadest limbs. Pure delight! I burst into smile. Just minutes earlier, only space had occupied the area where this tree now stands, where this bird now perched. Just like that, I thought. A branch, a perch, a bird.

He stayed for a bit, looked around. Then he flew off. It didn't seem that he had come out of curiosity; he had given no indication that he recognized the tree as new. I, however, was tickled enough for the both of us.

Love is so free, so generous with Its reminders. Love wastes no time coming when It has a place to land. And It is just that easy to receive.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it! A branch, a perch, a bird!

Simplicity is heaven!


7:46 PM  

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