Monday, June 18, 2007

That Perfect Moment. . .

The wild and wandering life can hold no finer moments than those perfect intervals that sometimes deign to show up in one’s life in the middle of June somewhere in the sunlit bogs and fens of the Lanark Highlands.

Yesterday morning, I wandered slowly on foot along County Road 12 near the hamlet of McDonalds Corners in my favourite floppy hat, camera firmly in hand and spectacles perched on the end of my nose, a whole bag of lenses clanking agreeably on my hip, a bottle of water in one pocket of my photographer's vest and a large receptacle of insect repellent in another pocket.

The day was brilliantly sunny and humid, the skies a perfect azure blue, and a fine haze shimmered over everything within sight. The air over my head was full of dragonflies and damselflies, dancing Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Monarch butterflies. There were (alas) deerflies in profusion, but such is always the case in June out in the highlands, and one goes out prepared for the heat, the humidity and the inevitable clouds of biting insects.

One is never quite sure what she will find in these northern rainforest expeditions, and the best thing to do is set off without firm expectations of any kind, to go along quietly and observantly and be open to the seasonal treasures on offer. One must be willing to embrace astonishment and be transfixed, ready at any moment to see something magical and fall headlong into a state of rapture that dazzles the eyes and makes the spirit sing. To wander in these wild places is to be an ecstatic apprentice of wonder.

I wandered down a steep embankment yesterday morning and into a squelching emerald green bog alive with voracious bugs and decomposing vegetation, and there it was — a gently nodding colony of the most magnificent Showy Lady Slipper orchids I have ever encountered anywhere.

Does life get any better than this? I returned home late in the day with a head full of wild orchids, having forgotten entirely about the deerflies. There were visions of Cypripedium reginae dancing in my mind, and I felt like singing hallelujah. This morning, the right words to describe the experience evade me, but the wonder remains.

1 comment:

Marcie said...

Cate, I love that you put the image of your younger self on your profile. I don't know when you did it - I just noticed it today. I live in a beautiful place, but you make me yearn for the Lanark Highlands (someplace I've never been) with your writing.