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As the Leaves Fall
November 19, 2023
“We can go further by periodically stopping and resting.” - Sharon Salzberg, “Finding Your Way”
Today feels quiet, inside and out. A pause between the warmth and winds of the week and the cold front on its way. The leaves fall. The birds are still migrating but something is whispering that it’s time. Time to nestle in. Build a den. Cozy into the quiet of myself and drop into the depths of rest.
In my quiet mood, I’ve watched my new video a dozen times this morning. I still can’t believe I witnessed it on the morning of October 23, 2023. At least 10,000 Franklin’s gulls, easily the most I’ve ever seen, with a spectacular sunrise as a backdrop. Franklin’s gulls spend the summer in Canada and the winter on the west coast of South America. My mind truly can’t comprehend that journey or how the universe lined things up in just such a way that this experience occurred!
Taking the video in the wind I was filled with excitement and awe. It was loud and exhilarating. Watching it now, I am filled with peace noticing how gently the gulls float on the winds. Making the video has added depth to the experience I didn’t expect.
It’s usually so noisy inside my head but today it’s unusually quiet. I’m listening to the photos and asking them what they want to communicate. I often get caught up in the feeling I had when taking the photo and fail to notice the feeling of the now still image. Like the gull video above, sometimes they are very different!
This photo of the Franklin’s gull against the fall leaves was taken amidst the bustle of gulls flying in and out, yet it captures a peaceful moment - a gap in the noise, a pause in the bustle.
The pied-billed grebes were swimming in the quiet cove and the experience of taking it felt very still, yet the image conveys movement. They are alert to something - perhaps something I did not see.
This junco looks so still sitting in the warm light of the rising sun. The reality of that moment was a tiny pause in the very active process of gathering food from the drying plants.
The yellow-rumped warblers are always so busy. What’s not obvious perhaps is that they are usually the first birds that flock to an tree. Many other birds seem to trust them and follow. Are they the best scouts? Are they the brave ones? For certain they are full of surprises in a tiny package.
My cootie friend here looks completely at ease, yet he was also wary as he approached, paying attention for signs of danger. He reminds me how often we too can appear calm even when we are unsettled inside.
I love how big the lake can look in a photo even though the cove I was taking this photo in was rather small. The size of the sky dwarfs the horizon making the whole scene look much larger than it might in person.
I have been caught up in wanting my stories to reflect the experience as close to the original as possible and wanting my photos to reflect that same “reality”. When I get “behind” on processing photos and videos I’m afraid I won't remember the story well enough to communicate it out to the world. Just now I’m realizing that’s ok! The photos and stories can take on new life when both they and I are ready.
Just the way leaves take on new life after they fall.
This week I tried to capture the feeling of standing in the falling leaves. Naturally they fell hardest when I had the video off, but still, I hope you get a little feeling of being in that flow.
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