The Apparition

Blanketed in thick fog and mist..the world was silent.

Motionless.

Not a bird singing..nor even the sound of scampering squirrel’s feet. Everything – in that moment – was standing perfectly still. Immovable. As if nothing could ever..or would ever change.

The sun had not yet fully risen.

In the beginning it was just the faintest hint. An outline. A bird – perhaps – camouflaged and hidden. The fog rolled in…and rolled out. It swirled itself around her…dancing shadows. She sat. Perched and poised. Focused…with an almost drishti-like motionless gaze. Her eyes were on the prize..and nothing was going to distract her.

As I watched and observed and hoped to preserve this precise moment thru my camera’s lens. …I began to think about how impermanent everything that appears to be truly permanent is. In one moment – I couldn’t see. In the next – I could. As I knelt at the water’s edge..my vision and view changed and evolved. She appeared – at first – only a fantasy…an apparition…a dream. And then – as the sun began to have its way -  she became so very real.

The seasons – I can see and feel – are transforming themselves before me. The days are shrinking..growing perceptibly shorter. The sunlit hours are diminishing. The sun’s rise is a full hour later than it was just yesterday..or so it seems. And it’s setting now happens long before anyone is ready to even think about going to bed. What was once a beautiful lush green..is too quickly fading. The first of the summer leaves are falling…a forewarning of what’s to come.

It’s all so fleeting. Blink for an instant..and it’ll pass you right by. This exact moment…just as it is. It will never happen quite like it ever again. This light. This bird. This fog and this mist. My happening to be here on this particular morning in this quiet with my dog at my feet. It’s all so transient. We are.

Great thinkers and philosophers have written volumes about this subject. This one of impermanence..of change..of the ebb and flow and natural tides of life. No feeling is final. Nothing lasts forever. Everything exists in a complete state of incompleteness. We all change. We all grow. Life happens. People come..and people go.  And yet – in it there is a continuity that anchors and grounds. Things – on which we can always count and depend. That – for centuries – birds like this have perched themselves – rooted and unwavering – hunting down their morning meal. That – succulent green summers transpose themselves into golden autumns…. then fade into silvery winter…. which always melt into soft springs. That  - we turn around..time after time…and over..and begin again.

People die. Babies are born. Life’s cycles continue.

What is it – I wondered – that I am doing here…on this morning with my camera-in-hand and dog-at-my feet? Am I simply bearing witness to this particular moment? Or – am I preserving it and recording it for all of time -  past and present and for what’s to come? I wondered if this practice of photography is one of distant observation and non-attachment..or if it’s one of deep and meaningful connection? To the universe? To all of man and animal-kind?  All this – I thought – as I sat…as I watched. The rolling fog playing tricks with my mind’s eyes.

And - like that blue heron taking shape before me..I sat perched…poised…focused on that prize. Taking it all in..but seeing only thru the lens of my camera. In complete peace – with myself and the world. Determined to make permanent the impermanence of this moment..to hold on to and preserve it..and never let it go.

With one easy click – it was done.