The swallows are all over the place at Huntley Meadows. They move swiftly through the air, their orange and blue colors shifting like the spectrum Edwin Hubble once saw. Their blue and white brothers are just as swift and try as I might, I consider it a lucky happenstance if I am able to capture a swallow in flight, at full speed. Luckily for me and other photographers, the swallows love to perch on the railings in the various overlooks at the wildlife reserve. They even perch on tree stumps by the water. Some swallows, perhaps to escape the heat, or perhaps to rest from their frenetic frenzy, sit on a small abutment of wood in one of the overlooks at Huntley Meadows. And so I had an idea. Try to get as close to a swallow as luck would permit and take a picture.
As luck would have it, the swallow was seemingly mesmerized by this black tube getting close to where it stood. For a brief moment, the lens was close enough to see the swallow closeup and capture the sense of wonder the swallow shares with all of us.
And a bonus picture. This time with the 200-600mm Sony zoom. A swallow in the middle of an in flight rotation. It happened so quickly that I didn’t even see it happening. Life is like that sometimes. Just go with the flow, with wings that take you to the air and beyond.
For many people in the world, today is a day to celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah. To all of us, no matter our beliefs, it is a day to reflect on what Easter really means. It is the rebirth of man, so to speak. Fallen from grace, God sent His son to the world and in the greatest act of sacrificial love, gave His life so that we all may live. The true importance of Easter is that we are reminded that the most important thing that we can give to each other is Love. Love made the the sacrifice possible. We think of death as the end of all things. And yet, the message of the resurrection is that forgiveness, generosity, a willingness to help one another without expectation of reciprocity, can make all of us better. Renew us. In acts of kindness, in acts of forgiveness, we are reborn. The yoke of hatred is a heavy one. Human bondage, human suffering, the torment of sin cannot be forgotten. We hope to learn from the mistakes. And yet, what good is learning if we are not able to do the even more important thing. To forgive. Today, we celebrate the resurrection, the manifestation of the love that the Creator has for all of us. He came to the world not to conquer, but to forgive. To love us all. And in so doing, restore us in our place as true children of God.
We are on this earth for a very short time. Do we spend that time spewing hatred, thinking selfishly only of our own importance to the world? Or do we spend our time on this earth helping one another, caring for one another. We will make mistakes. Some big, and some small. All of us will. It is the act of forgiveness that sets us free. Lighten the yoke. Bear no ill will towards others. Forgiveness. A virtue sometimes difficult to achieve. And yet, if we forgive others, if we forgive ourselves, we may find that a life lived in generosity, forgiveness and sacrifice is a life lived in love.
We of different cultures, different races, different faiths all live in one fragile planet. Do we really want to spend our days blaming each other for all the ills that we see? For all the ills of the world? Or do we proclaim, like the blind man did, that I was blind, but now I see? See, in each other, the likeness of God, the Creator who made us all. And if we are of one body, then why should we seek to harm each other? The body is whole when it assists all its members. When love, universal, is shared among all. It starts with forgiveness. And the understanding that each part of the body, though different, has a role to play. Nothing is unimportant. No one is unimportant. The sacrifice commemorated on Good Friday was not for the select. Not for the few. The love outpoured was for us all.
Happy Easter! And since it is a celebration of rebirth, here are some pictures.
There is a message here, I think. You must try, even if you don’t succeed. You may even find out that what seems enticing really isn’t for you. Not every effort results in a desired outcome, but effort always imparts experience. Which, in the end, is the key to success. And finding out what you are about.
Last Saturday morning, I woke up shortly after the sun had awakened and Huntley Meadows, one of the local wildlife refuges, beckoned. There was only one thing that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I should stay in bed. The sky was overcast and the weather casters predicted about two inches of rain for the weekend. I was pretty sure I wanted to just go out, go for a short hike, and take some pictures. There was, however, something weighing on my mind. It was grey. It was dull. What pictures were there to take in such a day as this? In short, while I knew what I wanted to do, how will the reality of the on and off drizzle mesh with my idea of taking pictures of birds in spring? My heart said go ahead. My head asked why? How so?
Sometimes the head wins out. Sometimes the heart flutters too much and like the sweet smell of sampaguitas, the feeling envelops you, and the world feels new. Is new. The dawn of a new day. A little muted, perhaps, but alive with possibilities.
And so it was that three hours was spent walking around in the on and off sprinkles from the sky. And sometimes, the sun decided to tease a little warmth into the cool May morning. The heart may be a lonely hunter at times, but then again, it can only be so. For in the ups and downs and ups in life, we find our way to life lived, a life lived well.
How so? The answer is simple. Make it so. And here are the pictures to prove it.