11 January 2013 Reflections

     Yesterday’s fog was gone. It was a clear and sunny morning with few clouds save some high cirrus spread beautifully through the sky. Only a slight wispy layer of mist hung above the marsh. It was a perfect reflection of peace. My friend, the Tricolored Heron, from yesterday’s fog was there to greet me.  Old Man River moved on to his second favorite perch downstream. Focusing on the circles in the water I was seeing, I was hoping to catch a mullet jumping (but that is for another story, another time). The golden hour had arrived when sometimes, for a moment, the morning and evening are bathed in golden light. My camera was then set up to shoot Old Man River in this serene scene. Those golden rays soon faded. A contrail appeared in the sky’s reflection in the water as an airplane intruded into the peaceful image.
            The distinctive call of Spunky the Kingfisher was heard. Peeking out the side through my porthole there she was. From her perch she was intently observing the water below for a morning snack. I wanted to see how this 25-135 mm zoom lens would catch her at a distance.  While focusing the lens, Spunky turned her head to the west. Out of the corner of my eye came a large ominous form with dihedral-shaped wings. Mesmerized by this sight, the wings appear to grow larger and larger as the bird of prey flares to snatch its unsuspecting victim. Coming to my senses, I tried to switch focus on the bird.  It swooped down towards my blind. Praying to catch this moment (my shutter speed had been set again for a stationary shot of Old Man River) I just kept pressing the little doohickey (shutter). Although the photo is a bit out of focus on the edges, you can see this female Red Shouldered Hawk with its prey (a struggling squirrel), caught in the talons of its captor. As the Hawk flew by I saw both Life and Death in its eyes. It swooped over the blind in a flash and landed in a tree out of sight. A commotion could be heard as the other birds scattered.  A Black Crowned Night Heron that had been disturbed, took flight among a flock of Red-Winged Black birds. It was over in a moment. All was silent. Then life went on and birds flew slowly by. Spunky, however, remained alert at her post.
            We never know when life’s fleeting moment is about to be gone. Though I was visibly shaken, soon, as in nature, peace returned to my soul. However, I can still see in my mind those intense eyes of the bird of prey. The thief comes to “ rob, kill, and destroy” just as it is written. But just like I observed in nature, God’s serene peace soon returns. Life goes on.  May that “ peace that passes understanding”  be yours today. Be blessed. Harry

A Wispy mist rises over the marsh while the sky reflects the morning light

The Golden Glow arrives and is reflected on the marsh. Old Man River waits as usual.

A contrail intrudes on a serene sky reflection

An ominous form approaches from the west. Spunky is alerted.

Life and Death are in its eye!

The Hawk and prey swoop quickly by.

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