Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Do You Visit Great Meadows?

Why do you come to Great Meadows?  I come for many different reasons.

On occasion  I just come for a bit of solitude; for the opportunity to meditate, to pray and to think.  Today was one of those visits.  You see late yesterday, I learned that one of my camera club friends, Richard Ferland, had died unexpectedly, as a result of injuries a body surfing accident while on vacation.

Richard was an extremely talented nature photographer.  I was secretly jealous of his eye and skill, hoping one day to take images as beautiful as his.  At a young 67 years old, it appeared that he would have many more years ahead to pursue his passion.

Most importantly he was a genuinely nice human being.  Even in death he gave to others.  As an organ donor he donated his eyes.  I hope the recipient likes photography.

So this morning I awoke; before the alarm, before the sun rose, I got up and headed to the refuge to walk, think, and pray.  I brought my camera because that's what I do. But it wasn't the purpose of my visit.

Arriving early, once I left the parking lot, I practically had the refuge to myself.  The mood of the day was one of relative solitude and quiet.  The planes were not yet flying.  Even the birds seemed to be singing is quieter hushed tones.

Part way across the Dike Trail, I encountered a very cooperative Red-Winged Blackbird.  One that just posed, sung and displayed repeatedly.  The light was beautiful.  The subject cooperative.  I debated, but decided that a photographer couldn't pass up such an opportunity.  So I grabbed some video.

Then something strange happened.  Almost everywhere I went there were cooperative subjects in "good light".  Even the Marsh Wrens were sitting up and singing, just asking to be photographed.

The thought crossed my mind that Richard would have enjoyed being at Great Meadows on a day like today.  My first reaction was sadness, but then a small smile crossed my face as I pondered whether he somehow had arranged with the Almighty for such a wonderful day to soften our loss.  If he did, it would be a shame to not share the day with you.  

Returning home, I am still processing his loss, its reminder of the fragility of life, and reevaluating how that should affect my behavior. I put together this video to share the day with you, but more so as a remembrance and memorial to a great nature photographer. Please click on the photo below to watch the video. I know Richard would have wanted to share the day with you if he could.