My alarm went off at 1:00 pm, just enough time to get up and get out of the house for the realtors to sell our house to another prospective buyer. I felt like this old snapping turtle looked; green, sickly, and out of energy from a four-day fight with viruses born from the orcish forces of Mordor.
I had to be gone for an hour so I grabbed my camera and car keys and headed out the door. I went back into the house for my pants and a shirt and a jacket. I had forgotten how cold fifty degrees could be with a fever and some leftover desire to have missed the flight out of Florida the day before. Thinking clearly now, I planned extensively(OK the thought went through my mind and stuck somewhere) how I would go to the nearest remote lake landing that required a 4×4 to dock you boat and a willingness to wade some swamp before the motor would clear. Here I would become one with nature for a short time and get some pictures of any nature I might see.
Normally I had the old boat, backed into whatever water there was and somehow pushed and poled to the lake area. Normally I am not so sick that fishing didn’t appeal to me.
The old snapping turtle was on the road so I caught a close-up photo and grabbed her by the tail to get her off the road. Her tail was almost a foot long and so was her neck. It’s a good thing I put those pants on or I might have fed her part of my leg while hoisting her to the ditch. While saving her life from the next 4×4 rig and she made quite a commotion while hissing ungrateful sounds.
I missed a picture of a big whitetail doe that almost ran me off the road (I was busy) and a few minutes later I parked in the grass at the unused boat landing. My first thought upon arrival was, “Wow, there’s nothing worth taking a picture of here.”
Every good hunter and nature photographer knows or finds out through experience that wildlife will adapt to your presence if you stand still or move very slowly. It also helps to position yourself next to trees or tall grass and be wearing clothing that doesn’t stand out or reflect much light. Standing by the edge of the water by the tall grass and willows I noticed a butterfly mimicking my movements. When I was still, it would land and barely spread it’s wings. When I would move it would hover in this small area which probably gathered heat from the sun and was out of the cool breeze. I waited and began to notice what was already there. I knew that when the local occupants began to accept my presence they might pose a photograph or two. Painted turtles came out of the water onto a couple of logs nearby, birds came closer but were wary of my slow movements, a butterfly landed at my feet, A nesting duck couple came back while a killdeer and a blackbird scurried about them.
A blue heron flew into my camera range and departed quickly when I tried to stand on a hump to take its picture.
I began to wonder if my sickness helped me to be a part of nature so quickly. I couldn’t move very fast, I was naturally a little hunched over, My cough didn’t annoy any creatures as much as movement. I promised myself a doctor visit if buzzards circled!
I suppose I was at the lake for forty minutes. No boat, just a camera and a small sense of adventure that most people could do within range of their house if they live anywhere near some wildlife hangouts. This small over view of a sickly hour in my life made me wonder how much I am missing by not putting time slots into my schedule for “Seeing and Being in Nature.” I still haven’t taken the proper time to reflect on what I have seen. These creatures do well without us but I wonder how well we do without them? I wonder if I can be more like the killdeer than the old cranky snapping turtle as I get older. I wonder if we choose wisely where we nest and how we get along with those around us on our crowded log? maybe the Blue Heron has a perspective I do not? I’ve been given eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that leans toward knowing God who made it all. how deep is that relationship?
It’s probably the medication but I wept after seeing the small and beautiful butterfly land so peacefully and innocently by my foot which could easily have squashed it quickly. “I’ve been a butterfly and felt like one” I thought, “I’ve also been treated like I’m a bug to be stepped on.” Fly away little butterfly and enjoy your wings while you have them. While it is still spring and life has not frayed your wings, and rest when you need to in the sun.”
maybe it’s sad but under normal circumstances I would have to say; “Fly away little butterfly when the frogs stop croaking and the birds take flight and my 4×4 and boat rounds the corner because I won’t see you when I’m focused on getting on the lake to fish.” Go ahead and voice your thoughts under comments below.