almost, i missed her

I was taking pictures across a gully of an object to her right that I could not identify. I didn’t see her, although I must have been standing there for several minutes, trying to figure out what the strange object was. It was only when I gave up and started to walk away that I caught those ears out of the corner of my eye.

Ears almost bigger than her head, listening, alert. Knowing that I had no way to reach her, but aware, just the same. She never moved, never shifted a nostril or and eyelid, just stared at me, perhaps wondering if there was any danger from this woman with that black clunky thing held up to her eye. Or perhaps she was simply curious.

Almost, I missed her. With my eye trained through the lens of my camera, I failed to see what was right there in front of me. It’s not the first time this has happened, and sometimes it is a good thing, like when the heron flew through the spot my lens was focused on.

But it made me wonder what else I might have missed along those five miles, as I walked and then limped and for the last half mile or so, cursed a little. And yes, one of the reasons I went for this walk was to take pictures. But I forgot, in my mission, to be there. I forgot to just walk, to soak up the sun, to breathe in the smell of woods and wildlife, to pay attention.

Almost, I missed her.

Just another reminder on another day that life is always happening all around me, whether I pay attention or not, whether I choose to focus on what’s inside my head or what’s outside my body.

I wondered if it’s the same for her. Does she ever forget where she is, lost in memory or preoccupation with what’s for dinner?

I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that she saw me approach, sat very still as I took my photos, and smiled to herself at my complete lack of awareness. I’d like to think that she’s better at this than I am, this living. I’d like to think that she knows something I don’t.

Lesson learned? Perhaps. Except I know that I will forget again, one day soon, when I have more things on my mind than I can keep track of.

But in the end, I saw her. I didn’t miss her, not completely. The corner of my eye is still good for some things. I’m not completely unaware of my surroundings. But I do need to slow down a little, enough to catch my breath and enjoy the place I’m standing in.

That’s what she taught me from across that gully. We didn’t need words or gestures or sound. She made me understand, as I stood there, that life only moves as quickly as you let it. That stopping for a rest on a sunlit afternoon never hurt anything.

There was no danger, there.

Only wisdom.

18 Responses to “almost, i missed her”

  • Jillsy Girl Says:

    I give all credit to my hubby for teaching me to slow down and observe, but even so, he STILL is the one to notice things first (most times)! And, there’s countless times when we’ll both be outside and then I go inside only to be told moments later he witnessed a fantastic wildlife moment!

    Exquisite capture!

  • Andrea Maurer Says:

    Wonderful picture. Even better words. Thank you.

  • Jeff Says:

    How profoundly enlightening, a stroll amidst nature.

    Thoreau has nothing on you.

  • Susan Says:

    Totally amazing! a beautiful way to be reminded to slow down and see … thanks.

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    It’s funny because I walked out onto our deck yesterday afternoon and a deer appeared from underneath it. It didn’t seem scared at all just stood there staring at me while I talked to it. After a while it obviously got bored with my conversation and moved on but it was a magical moment. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.

  • beth Says:

    you learned from her…..we learn from you !

    i also believe in serendipity…..and assuming that if you had just been out for a walk, no camera in hand, just enjoying your walk, she never would have been there to teach in the first place 🙂

  • debi Says:

    she stood and watched you. i love that – she was making sure you saw her, making sure you spoke her language if only for a moment, a language saying slow down, look here, slow down, breathe. and i love that she appeared from nothing. i always call “our” owls the cheshire owls – they appear bit by bit, i swear it, never all at once. the cheshire deer. ears first.

  • Stereo Says:

    Excellent lesson here for all of us, Kelly. Can’t help but wonder what I’ve missed along the way that was right there for the taking.

  • wholly jeanne Says:

    “life moves only as quickly as you let it.” yes. a lesson that deserves to be relearned as often as needed.

  • Liz Says:

    oh how you make my heart sing. Glorious beauty & wisdom always come through you, Kelly. Thank you.

  • Tina Tierson Says:

    So beautifully written and photographed, Kelly!xoxo

  • Amy Says:

    Fantastic post, I so get the feeling!
    ‘life is always happening all around me, whether I pay attention or not, whether I choose to focus on what’s inside my head or what’s outside my body’ wonderful!

  • Krista Says:

    This is incredible. I often wonder how often the deer close by and we just fail to notice them. Really a lovely shot.

  • Marcie Says:

    Oh..I can so relate to this. I walked the same walk for years – without noticing anything at all. But – you did notice. In the end – you really did!!!

  • Kate Says:

    Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees. But you did.

  • Madeleine Begun Kane Says:

    Lovely photo, wonderful essay.

  • Sarah Says:

    I looove this. I got a shot of one yesterday. Unfortunately, I had my 35mm on, and by the time I snapped on my 200mm, she was gone. Oh well. Next time.

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