Still cold in the morning, our walks are easier now on frozen mud. Later, ten or eleven, it’s cool, almost chilly in the breeze, with a beautiful bluebird sky; I spotted the first mountain bluebird yesterday, heard sandhill cranes two days before that.
A new batch of crocuses and the miniature yellow irises have opened and been discovered by the bees. Only three have bloomed so far, another three in bud, another half dozen popping up. The bulbs face a threat from the dogs who use this bed as part of their winter playground once all the mounded groundcovers have died back. Grape hyacinth foliage is coming up, snow-in-summer beginning to green. Does it have a crawling habit? How likely is it to spread? Don’t step on the buds of spring! Remember? Not only the dogs but I am trampling them now as I survey and clean up the bed. So many sweet things all coming up together, little clumps, loosening, pushing up dirt, sprawling and spreading thymes, time to cut back.
I can’t stop thinking of what seeds I want to get. And making a list of thing I want to accomplish in the garden this summer. Oh! It daunts me as I look around before I even begin it—and a new flower is open! The other purple iris, with the narrow leaves, and a bee in it. Here we go with the camera again.
I’m retraining the dogs to “Find tur-tell!” with Biko out loose in the yard for the first time today. A treat pouch around my waist and a few bounding trips to tag the tortoise, and they’ve got the hang of it again.
Two hundred and one shots dumped into the computer; all I need is one. Seamlessly flowing into song, All I need is one, all I need is one, where did this come from, something you’ve heard, something you know, or something unknown? The song in my head opens up and flows out when I’m in the garden. Finding my voice.
I go outside and fill up the camera again, only 34 shots left on the card, photographing bees on crocus and miniature iris, last night’s frost melted to glistening drops they are drinking—there it went again, the big thing! something three times the size of a honeybee, some kind of wasp? Rufous hint to the wings, longish body—learning how to see, so much of photographing is learning how to see—I follow the big thing as it zigs low through the air, landing here and there and lifting off before I can catch it, until yes, I see, it’s a small butterfly! I can’t get close enough to catch it with the camera, it’s too wary, so I stop stalking it.
And so, I wander the yard, 34 images left, and Stellar lies down, rolls flat on his back as he never could do in his youth, his back was so bowed from what? I shoot six of him. 28 shots left. Here it comes, the shot I’ve been waiting for, four shots left, all I need is one, and when it came I forgot, shifted focus at the last second and lost two, but in the end, I got my one.
But not quite, and so I clear the camera and go again.
While I stand by my lament of two weeks ago, I have regained my joy in living. It was not lost but temporarily overwhelmed by a despair which, were I not to feel it deep inside and own it, I would consider myself numb, dead to the world. Even though I expressed my deepest sorrow and frustration from the darkest part of me, I have regained my joy in living. I am thrilling today in the hours-long practice of seeking and ultimately achieving this one image: