Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Ramble - Surprise

Surprise comes from the Middle English surprisen meaning "to overcome", thence from the Old French surprise, the feminine past participle of surprendre meaning to "to take or overtake".  There are several old Germanic and Norse forms (*getan, geta. bigetan, fer-geten, getison), and further back is the Latin prehendere meaning to grasp.  At the root of it all lies the Proto-Indo-European ghend- meaning "to take".

In either the noun or verb forms, surprise means to encounter something suddenly; to be carried away or come upon something unexpectedly.  That makes the word kin (in my book anyway) to wonder, astonishment, amazement and perhaps even rapture, although without the element of madness implicit in that word.  Serendipity belongs in there too, for there is an element of chance and luck or good fortune in the equation.

A good surprise now and again is a fine thing.  I was poking about in the woods last weekend, holding the camera in one hand and swishing away deer flies and mosquitoes with the other hand when a flash of black and yellow appeared among the thimbleberry blooms (wicked thorns those bushes have).  I made a mad scramble into the thicket certain that I was seeing one of the tiger swallowtails who visit our woods in early June. The visitor was unusually agitated and perched here and there for a few seconds, but not once did it spread its wings and pause for a classic butterfly photo.  So be it - the image that one captures (or is captured by) is the one that offers itself to you.

Returning home later in the day with several punctures from my mad dash through the shrubbery, I downloaded the day’s images into the computer and was surprised to discover that the butterfly was a Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes).  They don’t come this far north, and this one had probably been blown north by storms somewhere further south.  Wonder of wonders, I was there on the edge of the woods at the right moment to see it.


Silvina Soave said...

Hermosas las fotografías, grandes capturas!
Un abrazo desde Argentina.

Mystic Meandering said...

And lovely images indeed! Makes my heart dance :) "The image that one captures (or is captured by) is the one that offers itself to you." Love that - so true in life too. The experience we are captured by is the one that is being offered to us as a gift. How easily I forget that... Am glad you were in the right place at the right time... :)

Guy said...

Hi Cate

A lovely photo.