Posts Tagged ‘dog walking’

LONE GREEN HERON

April 17, 2014

Green Heron in Grasses on Blue background 041 (2)

Late afternoon,

and I had walked the dogs;

endured their stops and starts,

their drag upon my aching arms.

Now I had shut the door

upon the ache of our attachment,

was walking freely to the water’s edge.

My arms felt light,

my mind relaxed into the ambience

of soft light spilling over water,

lone green heron standing in the marsh.

My camera was at hand;

it’s eye was open.

My eye was open to perceive the beauty

of a solitary bird.

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The Bridge

June 15, 2013

Canadian Geese (A Kiss) 231 (1024x748) (2)Next weekend I will participate in another solstice exhibit at Saint’s Retreat. Yes, I have been asked to dance…and have consented to represent the White Mare Goddess to bless the summer solstice. And yes, I have been asked to exhibit art. My usual drawings are probably expected. Possibly a sculpture… But I am choosing to show a few of my photographs. This takes courage and even a touch of audacity, as I have only been intensely engaged in photography for about nine months. I am definitely not as secure in my pictures as I am in my brush & ink drawings. But this is what I am doing right now.

Carrying a camera with me through my day has opened my eyes in a whole new way to the world around me. And the gifts that appear to me (be it bird, tree, alligator, flower or mud flats on East Beach) have softened my heart. I am warmly attracted to the subjects I photograph. As I stand on my wriggling dogs’ leashes and shoot and shoot and shoot, I forget everything except the beauty and charm of what I am seeing. It feels like an act of love and I am enlivened.

Taking the photographs past the initial experience can be tedious, and also exciting. One can be disappointed in one’s technical limits, or one can be positively amazed by what one has captured. I have been both. And I have discovered that just as with my usual mediums, work is a big part of getting to an image I am willing to share. Blogging has helped me to bridge the gap between personal snapshots and photographs as art. I have even realized how like a painting a photograph can be.

Green Heron Fishing (Color) Etc 031 (1024x768) (3)At the heart of our recent spring, I reached an agreement of sorts with this little green heron. He would model occasionally (on his terms), and I could snap him in his various occupations when I visited the park. But I must control my dogs. Any obvious rowdiness, and he was out of there. Also, when he wearied of being focused upon so intently, he would fly…suddenly…no warning. I never once caught him in flight. My entrancement was too deep. But what a joy to have this opportunity. Repeatedly, he lit up my day, and I have the photographs to remind me of his gift.

Models are everywhere to one who is aware, and the camera definitely heightens my awareness. Another model that has patiently endured my photographic attentions is the Inner Harbor alligator. Mostly at a distance, but now and then pulling his long scaly body up onto the human side of the park. His sun-bathing on the wrong bank fascinates as much as repels. Alligators are unpredictable. It was with nervous caution that I focused and clicked, only discovering later what I had seen through the lens.

Alligator with Design in MindThis is often the way it is. One is surprised by what appears on the computer screen. One has to wonder if one actually saw the zigzag pattern of the land and water. I was certainly focused on the subject as I shot, yet later he seemed secondary to his surroundings. I love the repeated triangles in this photograph. And I can almost see brushstrokes in the water and the muddy bank.

Actually, the element of surprise is perhaps what keeps me so engaged. I may find myself withdrawing slightly from the process: there seems to be a dearth of interesting subjects. My seeing tires and begins to forget what is possible, then I am surprised by something entirely new. I dare a walk in the rain and a strange bird stands on the pier. I don’t know his name, but isn’t he gorgeous: a touch blurry, but oh…those markings…that red eye. And oh, the rain-wet pier. I am fully awake again.

Night Heron on Rain-wet Pier 090 (733x1024) (3)On that same day, as I happily walked, allowing the rain to drench me and to gather in droplets on the coats of my dogs, I received another surprise…yet another reason to pull my camera from its protective pouch: a fellow dog walker…a young girl surprisingly patient with her shaggy old companion. I had been respectful as I glimpsed her with her wonderful polka dot umbrella, but as she walked away, I couldn’t resist.  Photography is like that.

Girl with Umbrella and Dog 096 (757x1024) (2)And just as photography has become a bridge between me and the world I occupy, so might it be a bridge between me and my fellow humans. This wonderful bridge allows me to share my vision of our shared world.

Heron In The Rain

July 15, 2012

It is a mood:

a mood that corresponds exactly

With the steady drip of rain

surrounding stillness.

It all began in the innocence of morning. I had returned from walking the dogs through the drizzling freshness of the park to find that I was still there. I had retained the rain-dropped surface of the marsh-lined water, become, if you will, the solitary heron and its moving stillness. Standing in my studio, I found myself breathing out what I had received into something like a dance. My body was moving not to move but because it was manifesting something deep and true. This dance evolved: a bamboo brush was moistened and dipped in ink. It hovered timelessly over the blank white paper surface before descending. I then became rapt observer of the line appearing, barely knowing that my own hand moved the brush. The image that came to life before my eye was more than physical application. It showed me my own longing to be me.

I Believe In The Christmas Fairy

December 31, 2011

I came upon this young magnolia tree as I walked with my dogs a few days ago. We were on Hudson – a road less traveled by cars and trucks than the street I must brave before I enter the slow, sweet curve of Hudson. The woods that border the road belong to faraway owners, who have either forgotten this land or prefer to leave the thickening foliage for the birds and animals who have made it their haven. The dogs delight in the scents left behind by fox and racoon. The occasional fox sighting is almost too much to bear (for all of us).  But, as I was saying, on this particular day we were blessed by a different sort of sight. Someone had decked this tree with a modest array of ornaments. The sunlight bounced off the golden balls, the magenta stars, and this woman – so tired from the holiday overkill – felt a leaping of heart. My delight in this simple childlike gesture brought me back half an hour later with my camera, which – having a mind of its own these days – has recorded a superfluous amount of light. Can there be too much light? The light seems appropriate in this case, so I post what I saw – at least with my inner eye: a fairy at work. I choose to believe in the secret and mischievous efforts of unseen sprites to bring smiles to the  hearts of those who need a small lift. A small gift…

Small gifts are the ones that have pleased me most this Christmas season. Another gift has been the appearance of a small black cat in the Inner Harber Park that we visit each day. Scruffy, skittish, and persistant in its presence, I couldn’t help my growing awaress of it as a gift of sorts. I began to bring food, and over the last few weeks it knows when we arrive and races from wherever it holds up to yowel, to purr, and to rub its now healthy coat against the dogs. They accept her attentions, sniffing and rubbing in turn, having come to accept this daily ritual.  When she looks up from her hungry partaking of the food I place in a bowl, her eyes – an amazing shade of luna moth green – have an other-worldly glow.  She is not mine, I am not hers, but we gift each other in simple ways.

Summer Showers and Mushrooms

August 1, 2011

Good old-fashioned afternoon rain storms have finally brought relief from the drought that has oppressed this area for months. It feels like the summer rains of my childhood. The rumble of distant thunder slowly coming closer, the gentle pattering that is a refreshing warning for the harder drenching rain that the earth so loves. As a child, I ran and danced with my cousins, welcoming the pelting chilling affect, so in contrast to the sweltering heat that drove us inside to read comic books beneath ceiling fans. The rain brought energy and new life almost daily.

Recent rains have brought mushrooms of all sorts – pushing up overnight through the soggy layers of last summer’s leaves. These days – as I amble out with the dogs – I discover the newly emerged and delight in their varied forms – some as smooth and delicate as baby skin, some in vivid colors that seem to warn one to stay away. I am not a connoisseur of mushrooms or toadstools. I appreciate them aesthetically and their appearance can spark my imagination. One evening I spotted this one glowing magically against decaying leaf matter. My first thought wasn’t mushroom, it was newly forming fetus – or even sleeping child. It roused a reverence in me that caused me to stand and gaze in wonder at its perfect form. I wanted to be what I was seeing if only for a moment: newly forming, innocent, completely trusting.

Of course my dogs were ready to move on. Leashes were taut and vibrating with canine eagerness. Noses were glued to the ground, absorbing scents that were as fascinating to them as the sight that I had been so moved by was to me. I held the sight and its effect in my memory throughout our walk, and back at the house I grabbed my camera and returned to record what I had seen. To me it was a gift – an icon of sorts. I wanted a reminder of its message.

Trembling On The Brink

March 11, 2011

The approach of spring is tentative this year. The fierce cold nights of winter linger in the memory, and even the plants appear to be shy about trusting the sun’s smiling face. Redbuds are braver, flinging a purple shawl across their  naked branches. And the Japanese Magnolia has burst into beauty for a glorious moment before its petals fell. But Mardi Gras has come and gone with no Azaleas to convince us that the spring is truly here. Usually it rather overshadows the delicate appearance of the Dewberry blossoms.

I have noticed lately – as I have walked with Music and Star – that small clumps have pushed through the dry brown remnants of last year’s growth. I have seen the tight pink buds pop forth on the wine-colored vines. These seemed to hold themselves in protective readiness for quite some time before allowing the tender white petals to unfurl. Even then a pink flush hinted at a certain shyness about opening all the way. This morning I took my camera on our morning walk in hopes of capturing their fey-like prettiness as reassurance of spring’s advance. Even so I tremble as I share the fragile proof, try not to move beyond this moment to anticipate the dark sweet fruit to come.

Out Of The Blue

June 6, 2010

This morning, after days of frequent thunderstorms, I heard no rumbling threat of rain and ventured out. The dogs were happy and co-operative, and I was thankful to be walking on a Sunday when the traffic is less and freedom of movement seems more possible. My mind was hopeful, too – the spirit easier. I was simply a woman taking her dogs for a Sunday walk – certainly not expecting to be hailed from behind. My name rang out, and I turned to see a bicyclist. He wore goggles and helmet and seemed a stranger. But off came the goggles and I recognized the doctor I had visited about two months ago, when my cold was at its worst and Laryngitus had stolen my voice. Right away he began to speak of b-12 shots for chronic fatigue. It was as if this were a continuation of our office visit – as if he had been mulling over my state of health since last we met, except that I was being diagnosed on the side of the road on a Sunday morning. Did he seek me out? By now the dogs had lain down as though in cahoots with the earnest doctor. He wasn’t done yet. Seeing that I was receptive to the possible benefits of b-12 shots, he carefully brought up the possibility of depression as a cause of fatigue. He had noticed, himself, that getting older was hard to cope with, and honestly, there were some gentle drugs that could help. All of this could have been very bizarre, or even offensive, except that I trusted the moment, believed in the strangely intuitive powers of of this surprising man. He was as though delivering a message, and once he was satisfied that I had received it, he could go on is way. When  at last I said I would come by his office this week, he took his leave – peddling off slowly down the road.

I was left to resume my own way. The dogs were ready. But I was affected by the encounter – made vulnerable by having been cared about. I walked and pondered the fact of my aging and my obvious resistance. I remembered last night’s attempts to dance full out to chopin – my longing and frustration at my body’s limitations. And into my mind came the truthful wailing of my youthful heart. ” I still want to dance as I used to dance! I want to feel that old joy of moving fiercely, fearlessly through space, of being transformed by my love of the dance and sharing that love! I still want to dance…” But that last cry was tired and sad, and the sorrow made tears that couldn’t be shed on a Sunday morning walk on a public road. Fortunately, Music chose this moment to deal with his doggie business. It was time to pull out one of the scented bags that I carry for just such a moment. Isn’t life wonderful?