This morning as I walked outside with a basket of washing, I noticed three Peacock butterflies in the garden. Three! I could hardly believe it. "Get my camera! Get my camera!" I yelled at Pops, who ran around headless chicken style in the living room. I made a dash for it myself, thinking that at least one of these beautiful creatures would still be there when I returned. I skidded on the conservatory floor, bumped into the dog, grabbed the camera and ran back outside. They had gone. And I had missed a most perfect moment. Not the click the shutter moment. That moment of wonder. That moment of calling to Olly to come look and see, instead of demanding that he go and fetch. A perfect moment of seeing several of the most delightful butterflies floating around my little garden was lost to me forever.
It was the same yesterday evening. Me, Olly, Alf and Honey went up Rosewall for a spot of after tea play. The sun had gone behind the patchy cloud, but the air was still and it was warm up on the rocks. I watched as two Painted Ladies chased and dive bombed a poor Red Admiral butterfly. I should have contented myself with spectating and enjoying, and yet I spent most of it trying to capture the event on my camera. It was never going to happen, and I found myself feeling terribly frustrated by it all. Why wouldn't they just stay put for me? Why couldn't they fly a little lower, so I could capture them in all their brilliance of colour?
I sometimes feel that if I don't gather evidence, it didn't happen. I never actually saw it. I have been forgetting the sheer joy of catching sight of something remarkable. Rather like the Heron Olly and I stumbled across last week, about five minutes after we sat enthralled to a Emperor Dragonfly zoom up and down the path that we were walking. The Hummingbird Moths that have graced us with their presence, and the rather wonderful insects that we have watched going about their business in our back yard. I haven't recorded any of them. And yet the joy is undiminished.
This weekend, Olly came downstairs to tell me that there was a bee stranded on the stairs. We gathered him up on a piece of paper, and set about getting him a little something to drink. A jam jar lid containing water with a little sugar. We placed it all in the shade just outside the conservatory doors, and sat down to watch. I told Pops that it may take a while for the bee to recover, and said a silent prayer that all would go to plan. After a couple of minutes, the bee had a little drink. He then had a clean, and a kind of all over buzz that made me and Pops laugh. And before we knew it, he had flown onto a nearby Marigold and starting foraging for food. Olly was so happy and excited about it all, and I would have missed his joy had I been behind the lens.
I have worked hard to create some kind of pollinator haven, and it has really paid off this year. We have so many different varieties visiting, and it makes me feel immensely proud that out little plot can be beneficial to so many insects. But I think that I need to spend a little more time simply enjoying it, rather than going for the money shot. And it's also about taking a photograph because I want to, not because I think it might look like the kind of photo I should be taking. I have a good quality camera. I have a hit and miss eye. I live in the world's most photogenic place. But it seems to me that best pictures I have ever taken weren't particularly framed or composed. With some of them I just got lucky. And with many more, it was the environment or the gorgeous child that made it look so good.
Maybe I should try and be more 'in the moment' from now on, and re-connect with all that goes on around me. It might do me the world of good.
Hope you are all having a lovely week.
(I am still having terrible problems with my new computer, and once again have to apologise for not being able to keep up with all of you and yours. As Tilly would say "Bear with, bear with....")