I don’t always know what I will see, let alone photograph, when I go for walks. Although the rare occasion pops up when I set out on a quest to find a particular something or other, mostly I let my body and eyes wander aimlessly so I don’t miss the artwork of the mundane. Well, that’s assuming any of nature’s handiwork can be called mundane.
Something in the ordinary, the usual, too often goes unnoticed. “Oh, it’s just a duck.” “Sparrows? How boring.” “We don’t see autumn foliage in Texas like you see up north, you know. Down here it just goes from green to dead in a few days.” The list goes on.
Truth be told, so much beauty rests unappreciated in what too many call pedestrian. If only they’d look closer.
I myself sometimes fail to notice what should be seen yet passes right before my eyes with nary a glance. And shame on me for that!
Even a gaggle of our local domestic geese deserves more than apathy. They bring verve and vigor to the lake, their loud voices ringing across the water’s surface and echoing in defiance of the woodlands. Would that I could gift them for the splendor they bring to my life.
Of all the ducks in all the world, White Rock Lake boasts a year-round population of many species, not the least of which can be found bathing in early morning light in the shallows of Sunset Bay. I stand upon the pier which beckons to me all too often, and there I see a familiar vision which even to me seems nothing short of routine.
But then I look closer, look with eyes intent on devouring the majestic hidden within the unexciting. Even as I look on, snap photos, appreciate, others glance here and there, perhaps mentioning the water thrown this way and that by a simple white duck, and finally seek more exciting fare.
And I wonder what might be more exciting than this…
The common pigeon. They draw their beauty from their forefathers, the rock doves, the progenitors of all pigeons, and they carry to this day an iridescent beauty and unmistakable aura that rarely is as admired as it should be.
I sat upon my favorite pier and let these birds join me, along with dozens of their friends. Some allowed me to touch them, others allowed me to serve as a perch, and yet more scampered about me as though I didn’t exist, ducking beneath my legs, walking over my hands, standing next to my arms. Almost an hour burned away in the autumn sun as we enjoyed the morning together.
Rested upon a branch within a shrub so near that I might reach out and touch him, this male house sparrow accepted my presence, my invasive spirit as I poked my camera in his face, and he never budged for all my commotion.
What a ubiquitous marvel he is. What a common artwork he proffers to those willing to notice.
Pelicans and coots preen upon the desolate sandbar jutting across the bay. Busy with their grooming, they fail to notice the autumnal canvas nature paints behind them upon what was just a few weeks ago a lush, verdant, green landscape.
I bear witness to the changing of the seasons, to the changing of the guard. Like these birds, I feel the warmth of a cool day whilst enjoying a potent magic offered up for our enjoyment. I notice the magnificent display, however, much unlike my avian counterparts.
Golden canopies stretch endlessly as they mix with reds and browns and greens and hues untold. Simple yellows, some claim, although they fail to see the truth of the moment.
The trail leading up the hill toward my home snakes its way beneath a sky contrasted by trees intent on showing their autumnal best. I scarcely knew a moment of peace as I walked this path. Sunlight falling against and through the gorgeous arms of life succumbing to seasonal sleep brushed upon the bones of the world a gorgeous shelter of color, a shelter beneath which I lost myself.
I’m left feeling satisfied and bewildered all at once. The everyday can be so exquisite, so delightful. It can also be terribly ignored.
I wonder why…
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 Domestic swan geese (Anser cygnoides) and domestic greylag geese (Anser anser) paddling about a local creek.
 A pekin duck (a.k.a. domestic duck, white pekin duck, or Long Island duck; Anas domesticus) taking a bath.
 Rock doves (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia) perched on the juts of a pier.
 A male house sparrow (Passer domesticus) clinging to the branch of a shrub.
 American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and American coots (Fulica americana) preening on a sandbar.
 Golden autumnal foliage sheltering an uphill path at White Rock Lake.