22 May 2006

Nature Journal: Photo

When I was in 7th grade, one of the English teachers made her class keep a 'Nature Journal'. All my friends thought it was a tortuous assignment, but the idea seemed neat to me. But, I was 13; my efforts at a 'Nature Journal' lasted about 30 minutes.

In the ensuing 33 years I've thought of this idea from time to time. While I've kept journals, none were devoted exclusively to observations of nature. It wasn't until a layoff last year that I made the effort. But, instead of writing, I made it a discipline to step outside at 2pm every day and take photographs of the trees as they started to leaf out. By the end of April, I had a job -- and all of the trees had leaves, magnificently shrouding my view of life beyond my property. The benefit of this discipline, besides some gorgeous photographs, was a more refined sense of observation, a keener sense when something in my physical surroundings has changed, a sharper awareness of how easy it is to let the marvelous blend into to the mundane if you allow it to do so.

Yesterday I found this bloom, without stem, atop the wood pile, apparently blown by the recent storms. I was surprised by its beauty when I found it, surprised by its color when I looked at it up close through the camera lens, and surprised by the amazing contrasts when I downloaded the shot. I love this picture!

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