Sunday, May 04, 2008
London, ON, April 2008 [Click to enlarge]
A couple of weeks back, I decided to take a late afternoon walk. We live a couple of blocks away from some pristine walking trails, and I thought it was high time that I got to know these hidden treasures a little bit better. So I put on my coat, slung my camera bag over my shoulder and headed off for some unknown adventure.
My first thought as I turned left off of the sidewalk and carefully picked my way down the hill to the bottom of the steep-walled, tree-lined meadow: Sneakers were a bad idea for walking through the muddy bog. But I wasn't about to head home now.
As I wandered deeper into the forest, the sounds of traffic faded and were quickly replaced by the the burbling of a runoff-fed brook, the chirping of birds and a strange feeling of stillness amid the tall, bare trees. I stopped for a second, confused that stillness could actually have an accompanying sound, but eventually concluded that it was good to mull over weird oxymorons like this.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to capture with my camera. Forests aren't especially exciting places, and they lack big, iconic subjects. No headlines here. But that didn't matter. I wasn't looking for big and obvious. And I wanted to take the time to absorb the spirit of this place before I decided what was worth bringing home on my memory card.
In the end, taking my time made the difference between simply coming to a place to take pictures and having an experience I'd remember for a while to come. I slowed down. I didn't watch the clock. I let my mind and my eyes wander. I saw a land waiting for its annual reawakening. I would have missed it all if I had simply walked through the place under deadline.
I'll go back again soon. Since I took this picture, the leaves have seemingly come out of nowhere to blanket the sky with a lush umbrella of green. The brook has become smaller, quieter. The ground has begun to dry out as winter's influence fades. And as I walk through the same place I covered not too long ago, I'll once again enjoy the peace that comes from leaving everything behind and just enjoying the here and now.
Your turn: The joys of taking your time. Please discuss.
About this picture: I just loved the light here, especially the way the branch evolved from front-lit to backlit as it progressed from bottom to top. Simple and peaceful, which is precisely how I felt when I took it.
One more thing: I'll post Caption This later on this evening. Hint: swings.