Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Treasures Found

Snowy Egret
Wiggins Pass, Florida

You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either.
- Galen Rowell

In the early hours of this day, while the air is warm and damp and quiet, I gently ease the yellow and white kayak into the water off the end of the dock, then slide it up to the step-off where I slip in, fasten the spray skirt around me, adjust the waterproof camera box one last time, and release the paddle from it's bungie.

The first forward stroke always feels like dipping my paddle into clouds, and this morning is no different. It is the confluence of grace and smooth water and floating and happiness. It is my time - this early hour - and I'm headed off to find treasures.

And I do. The 5 mile paddle to Wiggins Pass is quiet and solitary, save for the birds - egrets, herons, ibises - that line the channels through the mangroves like a gauntlet. The bait fish of summer are in, and they swarm like locusts just under the surface of this warm, green-blue water. The sun climbs above the trees and everything becomes sweeter as light paints this new day in dazzlingly saturated color. I get to the Pass and even ordinarily cantankerous snowy egrets pose happily against a canvas of breathtaking cyan.

Today is irresistibly beautiful. The Gulf of Mexico stretches out before me in pristine turquoise calm as far as I can see. I make my photos. I bless the birds, and I bless the winds and currents that keep the oil away.

Today is a gift, and that, my friends, is the treasure found.

Nikon D2x, Nikkor 80-400mm VR, one twitchy snowy egret, infinity beyond.

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