Monday, February 21, 2011

Wave Good Bye

Wave Good Bye
February 2011
Barefoot Beach, Florida
"You're searching...
For things that don't exist; I mean beginnings.
Ends and beginnings - there are no such things.
There are only middles."

~Robert Frost, Mountain Interval, "In the Home Stretch"

I am preparing for more shows and gallery receptions today. The doors and windows are open, and the yard is alive with a just-arrived Florida spring. There are more blossoms on the avocado tree than there are stars in the sky. The warmth of the last week has birds singing avian operas in my grapefruit tree.

I believe the songs mostly belong to the mated pair of cardinals who've decided to share the garden and fruit trees. I like to think it's my love of their brilliant plumage that keeps them here, but I know it's the food I lovingly leave in the new bird feeder by the office door. It was my first purchase after losing my 20 year old cat in the fall, and has made the adjustment of no pet friend to greet me at the door just a little easier.

The cardinals apparently don't give my purchase very high ratings. The male perches on the edge of its recycled plastic ledge and head-butts all the seed onto the chaise lounge below, then calls for the female and they both feed from the chaise. Who knew a bird would reject a feeder's architecture? Once they've filled up and leave, the doves arrive. They're too plump to head-butt any seed for themselves, so they waddle around the bottom of the chaise, cleaning up the over-spill on the ground. It's an interesting pecking order.

And so it goes on this day. Birds fly in, they tweet, they eat, they fly off. I work. They don't seem to mind my presence anymore, so long as I stay on my side of the door's threshold. It's a territory thing and it works.

I'm matting and framing this very photo today, but I'm stuck at the name part. I like this image for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the amazing colors reflected at sunset and the soft blur of water at really low shutter speeds, a technique I was teaching to a student when I took this image. Often, when I get a shot I am pretty sure I'll frame, a name just arrives in my brain instantly, like one of those cartoon word bubbles. Today, though, I'm stuck. Everything is too cliche ("sunset's soft wave") or too weird ("waiting to become"?) or too geeky or too much just not right. I can't finish framing until I sign the mat, and I can't sign the mat until I have a name. Stuck.

Waiting is not my strong suit, but I'm getting better at "diversion all dressed up as patience", so I move from the Logan mat cutter to my computer and find an email from a friend in California who tells me a mutual friend who had been struggling with life lately died last week. She's gone. It's not surprising, but it stuns me nonetheless.

We talked a bit ago, my friend and I; a sad talk about her difficult life. When I said goodbye, I didn't really mean it quite so literally. Today, to the tune of cardinals singing about full bellies, I am sitting here wondering where she is. Has she found peace? We always shared a love of adventure (and flaming marshmallows flung into the ocean), so I wonder if this new adventure is making her spirit light again. Do we ever lose the ones we hold close? If we remember them, and remember those times of laughter and joy and adventure, how can they possibly be gone?

And then, just like that cartoon word bubble, I know the name of this photograph.

For you, dear friend, on your new journey. I am waving a very good bye.

Nikon D2x, 18-200mm VR, graduated neutral density filter, and a loving wave.