Sometimes a conversation with a duck takes a surprising turn.
This guy had a lot to say about my camera and the intrusion of his privacy. He stood right up and let me know that my attention was not wanted. Before I had walked toward him, he had been sitting in this spot, relaxing in the cool and sunny afternoon sun. A couple of females swam nearby. This little body of water sits next to a local community college…across the street from the local lagoon.
As I walked back toward my car, this mallard continued his conversation as he stepped into the water and swam upstream, against the current.
I’ve been working to capture some of the sounds I hear on my photo walks these days. And it’s hard. When I am out walking and taking photos and noticing the world around me, I also hear amazing sounds…like the conversation with the duck. Unfortunately, the microphone on my iPhone is simply not sensitive enough to capture these conversations with nature.
Today I headed out to a portion of the lagoon I had never explored before. It was strangely desolate…dry, smelly…not the lush environment I experienced closer to the shore. I could hear so much more than I could see in this setting. Birds called, dragonflies and bees buzzed, the rushes whispered, and I could hear the white noise of the traffic from the freeway not far in the distance. I came across this sign…and it made me wonder if the birds take note of information like this!
As I explored this dry and deserted environment, I noticed these strangely unique plants…I don’t know what they are called and haven’t seen them before…but was immediately drawn to them. My husband called them alien flowers and immediately began a narrative about visitations from aliens (he is a big sci-fi aficionado). Personally, I think these thistle-looking flowers are beautiful!
As I walked along the road away from the lagoon toward my car, I found myself thinking about the distinctions between weeds and native species…and in many cases, I think they may be one in the same! I doubt that anyone planted these flowers, but I recognize them as native. I have seen them often in and around the lagoon…and they are lovely…especially as they blow in the sea breezes. They are like miniature sunflowers or daisies…brilliant yellow…the definition of spring!
I walked through many patches of these flowers growing wild along the side of the road, attracting bees and other pollinators, and simply making the road more beautiful than ordinary dirt and asphalt ever thought of being. And then I noticed this tree, large and stately…and likely home to many birds and bugs, and shade to many more.
I learn so much on my walks with my camera…even when I don’t capture it in images. Today I was much more aware of sounds than images. What looked like dried grasses and brush hinted at a richness of life within. I could hear birds calling, the rustle of animals, and the wind singing in tune with the plant life. I came across a hidden babbling brook and wondered if the water were fresh or brackish. At one point a bee came to whisper in my ear and stayed with me longer than I really wanted.
And so I am reminded to not just look…but also to listen to the world around me. There is so much to be learned from a conversation with a mallard or the whispers of a bee, if you just take the time to listen.