Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas State of Mind

Christmas Morning

Sanibel Island, Florida
December 25, 2008

"Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind."
~Mary Ellen Chase

Santa must have decided I'd been a very good girl this year; Christmas morning was weighted down with gifts. My early morning photo adventure on Sanibel Island looked quite unpromising at dawn. Heavy gray skies overhead and thick, humid air made me think the stocking might have coal in it after all. But as we crossed the causeway onto the island, the clouds began to break up as the sun began to rise. It's a pity these blog photos are small. The lighthouse light is glowing yellow, like a big bright star, in the large version. It's a sight that brings a smile because you just know in your heart that good light is in front of you and the day will be blessed.

And it was. The tides were perfect, the skies soon cleared, and birds were abundant. I saw more yellow-crowned night herons in one mile than I saw all year last year. To say that this is a stellar bird year is an understatement. Pure joy. It's just pure joy when white and pink and blue plumage spreads out before you like a carpet, stretching for as far as you can see.

Earlier in the week, I helped my eight-year-old neighbor make a necklace for his mom. We ran out of beads the first day and he was on the phone to me by 7:30 the next morning, asking when we could go to the bead store for more. Off we went, where he completely impressed me with his math skills (buying beads is high finance, after all). We had to have a discussion about sales tax, which he seemed to grasp quickly, asking only, "but how do I sent that tax money to Florida? In the mail?"

Later, he explained Santa to me. See, according to Chris, Santa is dead. "Everybody knows that, M.E. That guy was OLD!" Old, indeed. Yes, it seems that Santa was born sometime just a few years after Jesus. Maybe they even knew each other. Nobody really knows for sure. But what everybody knows (and this was said with a raised eyebrow aimed at me, I kid you not): "Reindeer can NOT fly."

Silly me. I guess it all comes full circle. The older I get, the more I tend to believe in all sorts of crazy things. Why else did I get perfect light, hundreds of beautiful birds, merry jolly passers-by, good company, a coupla keepers in the photo bag, and a day full of joy and peace, just like I asked Santa for?

I swear that night heron was named Rudolph.

Nikon D2x, Nikkor 80-400 VR

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