A couple of weeks ago, Daisy and I were out walking. It had been a sweltering day – another 100+ degree day in the unrelenting, month-long heat wave.
I was tired and grumpy and hot. And the last thing I wanted to do was go outside and sweat my ass off. But Daisy was sitting at the front door with that look. I swear she has an internal clock because she always knows when it’s time to walk. And I just didn’t have the heart to say no to her. So I grabbed her leash and at the last minute I grabbed my camera.
I guess we’re both creatures of habit.
At any rate, it was too hot to take the long walk down to the park, so instead we just walked a few blocks around the neighborhood. I was still hot. And still grumpy. Then as we turned to head back toward the house I noticed my neighbor’s sprinkler watering their front yard.
The evening light was hitting the water just right, so as if by instinct, I crouched down at the end of their driveway to take some photos. Because one thing I’ve learned over the years is…
water + light = magic
It so happened that the homeowner came out about that time to readjust her sprinkler. She didn’t notice me at first and was slightly startled when I stood up and waved at her. We shared an awkward laugh, then I apologized for startling her and explained that I was just taking pictures of her sprinkler. She gave me an odd look at first, but then smiled. And Daisy and I turned to go on our merry way.
I hadn’t gone two steps when she called out to me and asked, “What were you taking pictures of again?” I could hear the subtext though…
Why would anyone take a picture of a sprinkler?
It always catches me off guard when someone asks me that question when it’s not an obvious subject like flowers or butterflies. Because how could I have explained to her that I was photographing the way the evening light made the water dance in the driveway. And the way it transformed the water droplets into magical little orbs of light suspended in mid-air.
I could have also told her that taking photos of her sprinkler was a delightful moment in an otherwise ordinary day. That just the very act of taking these photos cleared my head and brought me a sense of calm and peace that I really needed after a long, hot day.
But how do you explain that someone without sounding like complete head case?
So instead I simply smiled and said I was taking pictures of the pretty light. And she smiled back and went on about her business. Daisy and I made our way back to the house.
Later that night, I pulled up the photos on my computer. And just as I thought, it was magic. And it made me so grateful for this craft and this art that I has blessed my life for over ten years. To have learned how to slow down and pay attention. To see the world with new eyes.
This is the gift.