Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Branching out

Life is full of small joys that, while they don't always garner headlines or make for great discussion fodder at a party, seem to drive home rather effectively why it's a good thing that we're spending time on this planet.

The neat thing about so many of these so-called little joys is that you never know when they'll present themselves. You don't plan for any specific one: you simply open your eyes a little more and hope that you'll know what you're looking for when it crosses your path.

One of my recent small joys is that I get to walk our eldest son to school. He switched schools this year, and although we all worried a bit about the size - it's ten times the size of his old school - and the overall degee of change, it's turned into a blessing. He's settling in, making friends, and enjoying the process of learning and growing.

I also get to walk him the few blocks to school before I head to work. It's a quick walk, and at the age of 11 - 12 tomorrow! - he can easily do it himself. But I'm happy to make that walk with him for as long as he wants to because it's easily one of those little, quiet joys. And when he surreptitiously tells my wife that he really likes when I walk with him, I know we've struck a happy nerve, and I'd be silly if I didn't hold onto this gift of some alone-time with our son for as long as possible.

I pondered the importance of all of this yesterday morning as I left him in the playground and turned for home. As I exited the school grounds, I noticed berries on an almost-bare tree, dripping with water from the rains that have blanketed our area for days. Only they weren't really dripping: the drops were simply hanging, glistening in the dull sun that managed to peek through the thick clouds. It was an unexpected, inspiring sight. And I had no camera, so I made a mental note to return.

As I rounded the last corner beside our house, I noticed another tree, this one with water hanging off the branches. Same thing: sun and inspiration. Only this time, I was mere steps away from my camera. So I fetched it, and snapped off a few fast ones before heading to work. There's no real artistry or preparation here: just a picture of a small moment when everything seemed to make sense.

Your turn: What does one of your small moments look like?


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I'm less visually motivated than you, but I can tell you what one feels like: when I find myself in the fastest queue in the supermarket, or the bank, I feel full of delight!

Karen said...

Carmi, I'm at the same place with my 14-year old daughter. Although she does need me to drive her to school, I didn't work very hard to get into a carpool, knowing that the car is one of the few quiet moments we share. She'll start driver's ed. soon and I know that our quiet moments are numbered. Sigh.

Suzanne said...

maybe if I get a new camera I can start to take more photographs. I would like to know what kind you have or suggest however! You always take wonderful pictures.

MissMeliss said...

My small moments involve small animals: watching my chihuahua take on his 'intrepid explorer' stance as he stalks imagined prey in the ivy-covered back yard, watching my other dog sigh, and move from one patch of sunlight on the floor to the next, and the gentle weight of either of their heads resting on my knee/ankle/foot while I'm curled up with a book or the laptop.

Wordnerd said...

Seems that "on the way to school" is a common theme here. One of my favorite parts of the day is the thirty minutes I have with my daughter after I drop my son off at his school, and we wait for her bell to ring. She could have entered the morning extended day program, but after a few days, she and I decided we enjoyed our quiet morning time so much we wanted to continue it. It's very special.

Beautiful shot, as always, Carmi.

Shephard said...

That's great that an 11-year old would want that time. You must be doing something right. ;)

My small moments? They have ears and whiskers, long tails and big round eyes, and they often get into things or want laptime or to play with the lazer toy. Their lives are very short, so I indulge them.


Paige said...

I never know when one of those extra special moments will pop up or what will trigger that kind of awe feeling. It could be when I see my smile when I pull up the drive way or my beloved secretly looking at me, It could be when I hear laughter by anyone or see that couple kissing in the park or the old folks whose eyes are full of concern as they reach out for their loved one. I believe if we are open to such moments they will appear always with a nice sigh.

Sandy said...

My small moments? Seeing those "a ha!" moments seize a child. Cuddles in the morning with the kids. Whispers at night with the husband once the little ones have drifted off. Moments alone with no one needing something. Hearing the two year old call out, "Wanna play with me?" And the 4 year old say, "Sure!"

By the way, I didn't think it was possible. Really I did not. But, I think this new camera of yours combined with your eye and ability to see the little things others overlook have created even more fantastic shots!

J said...

When I am feeding my little girl n the mornings, every once and awhile she will reach up with one hand and place it on my chest. The warmth of those tiny little fingers permeates my chest and touches my heart.

Howard Muhlberg said...

Hi Carmi, I haven't stopped by in a while, and everytime I do I'm blown away by your photography. Of course I love your writing as well, but, as I've said, you eye captures great things, the essence!

As for what my one of my small moments looks like, I don't have a photo to link to, but I'd choose the gleam in my 8-year old son's eyes and the smile on his face as he's about to whack me with a pillow.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Hang onto those great together moments! Those were the best memories with my Dad!

My small moments in photoghraphy usually consist of landscapes lately, as most of my time is spent with me.
I relish getting to see one of my grandsons n daughters for a little bit once in awhile, for that great-pic-feeling you can't capture-

srp said...

Here from Michele this time.

My small moments? Hmmmm. Those moments when I feel a flower or the soft fur of my cat or the touch of his paw on my arm, are the ones I hope to capture on film.

But The "smallest" moment I've caught was an insect. I know an explanation is in order. I was trying to take a macro shot of the tiny bedstraw burrs (about 3mm in diameter). When I looked at the shot there, on the stem was a teeny tiny, totally red spider no more than 1 mm. I didn't even see him sitting there.

Terri said...

Awesome photo and awesome writing. One of my small moments is watching the sun set here on the island and being grateful for all the moments that preceeded it....and all those yet to come.