Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Little and Big, part two



I have been taking photographs of the blooms everyday. I currently have "510 items" in the Magnolia Tree 2015 folder, many of which I haven't even opened yet. For just the active looking at beauty within the multifold leaves is my meditation and it does me good. Well, that and I am never disappointed, no matter the weather or time of day. Beauty is most certainly found and ample for the taking. Not to mention that time is of the essence as the weather forecast has warned that the Mistral winds will rise today to scatter the blooms into a forgotten pink snow. I can hear it rising outside my window and know that like the seasons, soon I will have to wait for another year to see this particular example of exceptionnelle.


Yesterday, the sun was glorious and created rosy shadows on the leaves. I hoisted Remi's telephoto lens (it is heavy) and pushed it roaming through the tree searching for something to take shape. I have to scrunch my left eye shut to grasp for focus in the viewfinder and when I pull away, it is watery from the effort. So I wasn't entirely sure of the fluttering that I had sensed in the fuzzy zone. But yet with a blink and a further twist of the lens I could see a baby bird taking a bath in the gouttière or water-pipe on our neighbor's roof across the way.


I know this little guy. He is a mésange or chickadee and of all of the others in his flock, he seems to prefer our garden, especially the magnolia tree. Perhaps he feels safe there, hidden without hiding. Or maybe he is just still too young to fly farther. 


He took such delight in his bath. In he would plunge and spray the water over his back with outstretched wings. Then he would jump back up to the rim, tap the each side of his beak against the metal with a sniff, give a hearty shake, fluff out his feathers and repeat. In, bathe, tap, shake, fluff.


He seemed vachement content...or quite "chuffed" as my English and Australian friends would say. Such a simple act but an important understanding for this baby bird. How we learn through doing and how we learn through what we feel. My delight was total in watching him. My heart was brimming. Yours would have been too, I am sure of it. It is why I am sharing this other example of little bursting into big. Although, the more that I write about that, the clearer it is to me that they are two sides of the same coin.


Mais hélas, the birds are not alone up on the rooftops of this village. Les chats - of which there are far, far too many in so small an area - are quite confident that they rule above as much as below and slink along the tiles with the confidence of John Robie. I even know one who likes to sit and watch the sunset. That is all well and good but I photographed this fine fellow mere seconds after following my twittering friend. You may be extremely handsome, Mr. Bowie Eyes but stay away from my peeps, I mean it!


Similar to that expansive rocket burst of the magnolia and zooming from little into big that crowds the magnolia's branches is that hypnotic waltz of back and forth...in time. By happenstance or maybe as the random not random gift of the baby bird, I stumbled upon this song, "Your Silent Face" by New Order in my itunes list. It once meant so much to me and I find that it still does. Just the same, only I am different. I think.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...


I have been listening to the song on repeat. Just as in dreams, my recent dreams, the past and the present (and maybe the future?) are looping the loop until they come together full circle in a picture as experiential as if it is trying to teach me something. In, bathe, shake, repeat. Or at least that is how it is these days. 


I nod at you, to the bird and the blooms and at all that is Hope-filled like Spring.



More of Paris soon...


38 comments:

  1. You have the mistral, we have the scirocco. Spring is determined to have its windy moments too. There is a (fat0 stray cat in our nieghbourhood who loves to sit on our wall and just stare at the valley. I find cats a little disconcerting, as if they see things we cannot. Hope your baby bird will stay safe.

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    1. So far, so good for the baby bird - who has grown so much that I can barely recognize him! And YES about cats. I don't understand them, nor they me.

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  2. So much joy in a good bath! And so much beauty everywhere. We had a bit of a mistral in the valley - a mini stirring of the Santa Ana winds which made everyone feel a bit tense and strange and knocked power out on the other side of the hill ... thinking of you, in a pink snow of magnolia blossoms... xxxx G

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    1. You should see the courtyard's paving stones! And there is nothing like a freaky Santa Ana...

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  3. Oh Heather, I'd sure like to take a walk (or many) with you! What delight in watching a little bird bathe!! We don't have to worry about cats hunting, as the coyotes have forced all of the domestic cats inside. The route for my noontime walk with Henry and Bob is usually the same, but we see many new things, or things anew, every day. Especially during spring. Eyes wide open, being right there, is so exhilarating! It is my birthday today, and you have given me such a lovely gift with this post. Thank you, Leslie in Oregon

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    1. Leslie!! I am super crazily behind in responding to all of the comments here and so I am SO sorry that I am so late in wishing you a Happy Birthday!!! I hope that you had a wonderful one and am sending some Peace for you (as I know how busy you are) for the year ahead.

      And it is the same for my walks with Ben and Kip. There are several options here but I often take my favorite one, the boys don't mind and I too always, always see something different.

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  4. Dear Heather, thank you for your quiet, contemplative post. And photos filled with simple joy and beauty! I especially liked the second last one, of the handsome fellow in the magnolia tree! There's something very heartwarming about watching a bird take a bath!
    Sending you good wishes regarding the trauma that is occurring in the South East of France at the moment.
    Cheers,
    Deborah

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    1. Thank you for that Deborah. It was and is so deeply saddening. I feel so for those that lost family and loved ones.

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  5. Le sigh! What a sweet post!! So glad you found that little bird taking a bath - what happiness! I think I've told you - the bird feeder outside our kitchen window bring us SO. MUCH. HAPPINESS!!! I'm going to send some pictures - did you know there is also, here, a feline stalker?? At any rate - love the pics and the wisdom - both are heartwarming and make me filled hope-filled like spring!

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    1. You have the best bird feeder anywhere outside of a zoo! It is always hopping there, the place to be! ;)

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  6. "vachement content" ? Content like a cow? Do I have that right? Oh I love this language!

    Cats rule in "our" village too....there was one who would get so angry with our arrival in HIS territory in May (the terrace was up on the roof among the tiles) he would climb on the bamboo awning over our heads and pee on us. True story. Rascal.

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    1. Crazy peeing cats. I tell ya.

      And oh my, I had to laugh because, technically, you are right. But it is just slang - and not even good slang so I shouldn't be using it on the blog - meaning "enormously"...

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  7. Heather, since our dear Buci left us, we have had many birds visit us. Some of them, the Rainbow Lorikeets in particular, let me rub their little chests, and stroke their heads. These ones, I think Buci has sent to us. The others, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, are enormous, but extremely gentle. One of them, a girl, likes to sit on my arm and talk to me. They can be very destructive, but we have had no problems with them. At Christmas, a family of Lorikeets brought their two babies to us, and over the last couple of months we have watched them grow up, and now they are gone. I had never thought much about birds and their personalities, stupidly. But what amazing personalities they have, such a privilege to have met a few. Enjoy your baby bird, I hope the Mistral doesn't blow him away, and the blossoms too.
    xxTracy.

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    1. The blossoms are going but the birdies are still here! (Although the herons and cormorants that I see on my walks have moved on for the season but that is another story)

      Tracy, your response made me want to pack up and move to Australia! Lorikeets and Cockatoos?!? Sitting on your arm and letting you pet them? I would agree that Buci is doing what she can to send you some love from the other side of the Bridge. Sweet girl. I would love to hear more stories about your visitors when you can...

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  8. I am not alone and that makes me feel a whole lot better. I am not the only one who wanders endlessly around the garden at this time of year, taking hundreds of photos, in my case it is of the blossom, the plumb already fading, the peach which has just burst into life and the cherry which is oh so close. My children look at me and shake their heads, "Mama, you took lots of photos of that yesterday and the day before, why do you need more!" They are right, of course, I don't need more photos of the blossom, it is just such a poignant marker of spring and it fills me with happiness and contentment looking at it and photographing it again and again and again!

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  9. Oh this is such a beautiful post...a reminder that there is beauty in the very small, and where we cannot see. You story of the baby bird made me smile, I have a cardinal that visits everyday and I love watching him and his family.

    The world around us is a wondrous place if we only stop to look!

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful life! IT always brings a smile to me face to read your posts and see your photos.

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    1. Oh Elizabeth, thank you but my life is no different than anyone else's! I am doing laundry today! :) But I am glad that you enjoy my posts, I really am.

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  10. The birds are starting to chirp as they have returned from wintering in the south. Such a delight to hear them singing!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Isn't it? Although I am a little chilly, I have my windows open so I can hear them.

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  11. The most ordinary reveals the innocence that beauty comes in many sizes and ephemeral:Dew drops on petals, the young learning its first step. It’s there to see. Virginia Wolff will say,”they are the little sparks” , the epiphany, the Zen’s awareness.

    The anticipation of unfolding 501.

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    1. So beautifully said - as always, thank you for reading here, Edgar.

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    1. Yeah? I am going to give you a Meow, Miss!

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  13. The birds woke me up, just this morning! You tell a beautiful story. I can see what you write!!!

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    1. They woke you up. How I love that...

      And thank you!

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  14. Ah, the sweetness of a little bird bathing. You remind me that I have neglected the bird bath. It needs a good clean out and fresh water. When we are little we thrive on repetition. It's how we come to understand the patterns of our world. We should continue to treasure it.

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    1. So true, G. And I hope that you kept to your word...for the birdies sake and yours...so much happiness awaits!

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  15. Good to know that it is spring somewhere! Our bird feeder, like Robin's, is a source of joy. We have mourning doves, cardinals, and woodpeckers visiting us every day. One day, soon, I know, daffodils will poke their deep green shoots through the dirty snow.

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    1. They will. :) And it sounds like you have the same species of visitors that Robin has!

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  16. I would like to take some pictures of animals and nature all around here where I live... I desperately would like to use my reflex but it rained , rained and rained all the week ! SUN where are you? Thanks to your beautiful photos I can see SPRING ! Have a nice weekend Heather!

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    1. Take photos even when it is cloudy and rainy, Emilia! Really! You might be surprised!! :)

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  17. OH,that little birdie..........came to meet you!What if I told YOU I sent him...........to be my messenger!
    Wish I had done just that.........SPRING is en-route and your garden awaits........GO DIG IT and PLANT!You will Love this challenge...............the dirt, the veggies all so REWARDING!
    XOXO

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    1. I would believe that you are capable of anything including sending a baby bird messenger! And yes, we have (slowly) started planting...it is so great. :)

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  18. So lovely - your observations, your words, your images. Oh, for a nature walk in your environment! And how precious baby animals are.

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    1. I know how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place but I firmly believe that one can find beauty nearly everywhere. :)

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  19. The magnolias never last long here either. As I'm sure you remember! But it makes them all the more special when they are here. Love that striking white cat with her mismatched eyes. And adore that the bird found the widest place of the gutter to take a bath! Why not seek some luxury when it's available?!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I didn't notice that but it is totally true! Clearly, this is a baby bird who knows the importance of the finer things in life. :) And we didn't have a magnolia tree on our farm...but...the lilac tree? Heaven.

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