A couple years ago, I woke early one morning and took my dogs for a walk. Crossing a wet soccer field nearby, I happened to look down and was surprised to see a perfectly still dragonfly, its wings glistening with dew. Fearing it would get trampled if it stayed there too long, I gingerly lifted and set it on my hand in hopes the sun would dry its wings enough to fly again. We walked around that way for nearly 30 minutes, me catching the aurora colors of its transparent wings wing as the sun warmed them, the dragonfly maintaining perfect stillness. And then it quivered. It walked around my hand for a moment, and flew away. I'd never held a live dragonfly before then, much less been a morning perch for one. The moment was exquisitely beautiful and fleeting. It's possible it had just been born. Is it possible we both had?
By Chris Heeter August 19, 2009 Dragonflies don't begin with wings. They begin underwater on the bottom in the sand or mud or rocks. Eating most everything that fits in their mouths. The larvae eat and grow until some instinct tells them to climb through that ceiling of water; break the surface onto a blade of grass or a rock; and to hold still. To dry up, let their backs split open, and emerge. From a water being to a sky being. Swooping, hovering, diving. Radiant in sunlight, translucent wings, multi-faceted eyes, bright brilliant colors. In truth, we all have wings. And we all call crawl through the muck at the bottom. The journey comes in believing there is life above what we can see. And the trust of holding still, even feeling split open in order to try our wings. Chris Heeter, a wilderness guide, poet, speaker, and life coach, runs The Wild Institute . Image by audreyjm529
As a little girl, when I was about to come down with a bug,
I had the oddest way of explaining how I was feeling to my mom.
I've got that gray feeling, Mommy.
But she understood perfectly.
It meant I had a scratchy throat.
She'd take my temperature, give me 2 yummy orange-flavored baby aspirin, tuck me into bed, spread Vicks Vapo Rub on my chest, cover it with a cloth diaper, and off I'd go -- to sleep, to rest, to get better.
With pandemic influenza blazing its way around the northern hemisphere right now,
if you get "that gray feeling" in your throat,
I do hope you'll take good care, tuck yourself into bed, drink some hot tea or whatever gives you comfort, and rest your weary bones.
Soon enough you'll be "in the pink."
So tell me, how do you take care of yourself when you get sick?
Why I could never make it as a wedding photographer
Now, before you say no, hear me out.
See, I've been following the blog of this Scottish chap (no, not the bagpiper dude above) who posts extraordinary photographs of extraordinary places from all around the world. It's as if nothing comes out of his camera but extraordinariness. All these castles and cathedrals and ancient bridges and gilded sculptures and sunken gardens appear on his blog as if they were right outside his door. (Actually, I think a few are.)
More than once, I've asked him if he's capable of taking a bad picture. Hint, hint. And more than once he's responded that of course he is. And still, nothing but perfection ever shows. Well, that kind of standard simply cannot go unchallenged. We are humans, after all, not photobots!
So, I finally hit my limit, and I dared him to post a bad shot. Not only that, I double-dared him. If he'd do it, so would I. It takes some courage to show one's imperfections, right? Especially for all the world to see! But it's a good thing not to take ourselves too seriously at times and to be able to chuckle at our foibles, right?
Well, Derrick, being the gentleman that he is, accepted the dare. And then we thought, hmmmm, why keep the fun all to ourselves, why not dare kindly invite the rest of you amazing bloggers out there to join our "photographic imperfection" day.
And so, a meme was born. (Is that even possible?)
Thus . . .
My delightful (and extraordinarily talented) friend, Derrick of Melrose Musings , and I
cordially invite you to
Provethe adage that nobody's perfect
on Monday, September 21, 2009.
You have genuine permission to let your guard down along with the rest of us and
give us your worst shot.
So here's the plan, to quote Derrick;
(Cue the Scottish accent):
"Simply dive into your digital dark room; flip through your photo album; or sort out your slides and extricate a photograph that didn't turn out quite as expected. The subject can be anything you like (within the bounds of decency, of course!). As for its failings: it could be under or over exposed, poorly focussed, an action shot that was too late for the action, an accidental click of the shutter; the list is endless. You're bound to have one somewhere, we all do!
If you're feeling brave, or brazen, you might like to post a few. Or you may wish to pair the bad with the good and show us what the shot was really intended to look like; the choice is yours. If you are happy to participate, please let either Kathleen or Derrick know and we will add your blog to the list for all the eager visitors to see."
Think of this as bloopers.
Should be fun-- extraordinarily so!
My chance to capture EarthDoctor son in a suit blows past me . . .
(You mean I was supposed to take it off the macro setting?)
Oh, for goodness sakes! Kathleen asked me to write a post tonight because she's too embarrassed to do it herself.
She wishes to thank two bloggers who gave her a shout out in the past week. I told her a simple thank you would do, but she's given to effervescence sometimes, and this is one of those times.
I truly don't understand her reluctance to speak for herself sometimes. Charlotte and I have been teaching her to bark and howl but she's devolving into a dog rather slowly these days and needs quite a bit more training. Once her knees are mended and she's on the trail again, we're pretty sure she'll come along nicely.
At any rate, after listening to her blather on and on this evening, I suggested she might like to go to bed. She agreed if I agreed to be a guest blogger.
She's been an erratic blog visitor of late -- something to do with keeping very busy because of a pandemic -- but she didn't want more time to pass before she expressed her gratitude.
Cora! She likened my little blog on the prairie and 3 others to a yummy bowl of cereal, a food "that warms you and stays with you." I wish I'd thought of those words, because they certainly apply to her beautiful blog. I'm so grateful I discovered Joycee and her creativity!
Cora! Jen called three posts I'd written about loneliness and solitude "beautiful." Can you believe it? Several years ago, Jen walked with me through some dark times, generously sharing her insight and kindness. Talk about beautiful! She is one class act with such original ideas and so many funny and tender things to say.
Kathleen really hopes you pay a visit to these bloggers. She wants you to "catch a glimpse of their lovely spirits shining through."
And now, by your leave, I'm going to retire to the boudoir and get some beauty sleep.
I was quite taken with a post on A New York Magpie's Eye , a blog where there's plenty of room to breathe and where it's tempting to linger and soak up beautiful photography with just the right amount of words.
The author's May 17 post on the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi often rests in the back of my mind as I look at the world through my point and shoot's eye. I plan to learn more about this lovely aesthetic.
In the meantime, a humble attempt at capturing what strikes me as transient, imperfect, and beautiful . . .
Wood and rust
Golden bark at dawn
Waves and rocks
Gills of a mushroom
Fender of a trailer
Light, leaves, and shadows
And may you experience Wabi Sabi throughout your day.