Friday, June 12, 2020

Friday Ramble - Kingfisher Days

Some summers, I spend my time photographing dragonflies, butterflies and moths, bumbles and wasps, puddles, trees and weeds, orchids and wildflowers, poppies and lupins gone wild and doing their own untrammeled thing in roadside ditches. The eastern Ontario highlands are a treasure trove of earthy abundance in all seasons, and I feel fortunate to be there and taking it all in.

Other summers are spent crawling about in the woods on all fours with a macro lens on the camera “doing” ferns, mosses, lichens and little green frogs. Every tump, stump, leafy alcove and stone has wonders to share. Is it difficult to lurch back to a standing position afterward? Yes, but worth it.

Still other summers are spent hanging out on the shore at the lake capturing loons floating on its calm waters as the sun goes down, great herons standing erect and still in the shallows, kingfishers hunting the last small meal of the day. Once in a while, an otter paddles by and peers up at me, displaying the bright red inside of its mouth and a set of wicked teeth. Loons, herons, kingfishers and otters, there is always something to see, and it's all good.

River otters are making a comeback in the Lanark highlands, and it is common to see them swimming along the lake and in nearby rivers. They are fabulous creatures, and I call them all "Portly", after the wandering otter child in chapter seven (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) of Kenneth Graham's incandescent The Wind in the Willows.

These are kingfisher days, times out of time, full of magic and an elusive something else, something I am always reaching toward and can't quite find a word for. When I arrive home, dusty, sweaty and speckled with leaf dust, the day’s images are uploaded  and archived. I look at everything, of course, but at first glance, the images make me groan, so I file the DVD and think no more of it.

Years later while searching for the right image for something or other, I pull out a DVD of long ago summer captures and discover it is full of treasures. I have already taken the swallowtail, loon or heron, the fern, wildflower or rain dappled moss shot I am still looking for. I discover them all over again, and I remember when they were taken, my soulmate and Beau (or Cassie or Spencer) and I together in the woods, chewed by black flies and happy as clams.

My apologies to Susan Coyne for borrowing the title of her memoir (Kingfisher Days) for this morning's post. Her creation is perfect summer reading, and I have always loved the book.

1 comment:

Barbara R. said...

Back to Wind in the Willows...to read again about Portly...because I forgot (or never knew) he was an otter! So glad you've got all those wonderful stored photos to share!