Thursday, January 25, 2018

Empty Nesters

There was a period in my life where I was not well for a significant amount of time. While there's no need to rehash all of that, there is one important thing that came out of that time that was to change my life in a good way. Bruce bought me a digital camera.

He had the notion that the camera would help heal me, not so much in the physical sense, but more as a distraction and if I were distracted enough, I would get eventually become myself again. It worked. I used that little pocket Panasonic every single day, whether my body felt good or not. Over time, I thought more about taking photographs than I did about how I was feeling, and the rest is history.

While thinking of that initial camera, I remembered how much I loved it and what great photos I was able to get with it, long before people began using phones for taking photographs. It was what you called a "point and shoot" camera, and I did plenty of that. I began selling my photographs taken with  my "baby camera",  and while other photographers looked down on me for using it, I was too naive to know the difference. Apparently, it was somewhat revolutionary in the sense that it was not a DSLR, a term I had not even heard of at the time. In other words, it didn't cost a whole lot!

These days, people are lauded for the photographs they take with their phone, which is basically a "point and shoot" that does more than take pictures. Funny how times have changed.

Something that I remembered in the last few days is how it came to be that I no longer have that camera. Back then, Baxter liked to take walks, and Jonathan used to call me every day to make sure I was alright. One day, while doing both of those things, I somehow dropped it on Pershing, the next street over from ours. Not that I noticed it, of course, but when I got home, I realized it was not in my pocket. Unable to find it, you can imagine how sad I felt. Never one to invest in expensive equipment, it was not the monetary loss so much as the mental loss--my "medicine" was gone, perhaps because I was getting better. In any case, I've had other cameras since, but none as beloved as that first one.

Isn't that always the way? What comes first sets the standard for the future doesn't it? Baxter was our very first dog. After my mom died, I wanted no part of taking care of another living thing. And then along came Baxter. Nearly thirteen years later, we are finally "empty nesters". Just me and Bruce. And while I hesitated before taking this photograph of Baxter's last hour with us, I'm now glad I did because there is just so much love here that I want to remember it forever.
Whereas other photographers have no qualms about photographing people at their most vulnerable, that has never been my strong suit. This time I've made an exception because, in the future, when our hearts are not nearly as heavy, this will be part of the precious memories we have of our sweet Baxie.

Perhaps, after reading all of the above, you are wondering how the two subjects tie together and I can't blame you for that. After writing my last post I was a mess and couldn't bear to stay in the condo by myself. you get it, right?

With my backpack carrying my camera and lens, I set off in search of, well, whatever came my way, somewhat like I did all those years ago. We finally had a weather break after days and days of wet, windy, and just plain miserable weather. I am not one to squander that kind of opportunity. Taking the bus down to Denman Street, from there I walked into Stanley Park and was rewarded nearly immediately.  About a dozen Robins were flitting about. Now for some folks seeing an American Robin is no big deal, but for a Central Floridian,  it is a treat as they only come through our area once a year.
Not far from there, I watched a Northern Flickr dig away in the soggy ground. Never have I been so close before, as the only pair I'd seen in Orlando were very high up in a tree at the cemetery.
I began walking on the seawall and couldn't help but think of what it looked like in this area only two weeks before with the huge waves that I later learned were from, what around here is called. a King Tide.
Walking along I began hearing some horn music, a term I use loosely because it was not very good. Where in the world could that be coming from? Here's where:
Continuing my walk I came to Third Beach where the shoreline was littered with shells probably due to the big wind storm on Sunday.
Standing near this seagull with a starfish in his mouth was, for lack of a better term, really something. Apparently they keep them in their mouth for a period of time before eating them, sucking out the juices. Nature at work...
It was right about then that Bruce called to check on me. As we were chatting I noticed another bird I'd never seen and told him I'd have to call him right back. By the time I'd gotten my camera out of my backpack, the two birds had flown away, however, before long, I came across them again navigating the big rocks while searching for food.
Once I was home I went in search of identification and learned that this is a Black Oystercatcher. I love seeing new birds, that's for sure! Alissa and Jon gave me a beautiful handmade journal that will be getting used to keep track of my bird sightings, lest I forget, and we all know how forgetful I am!

Because there was no reason to hurry home, I kept going, further than I'd ever been. The people in the photo below give you a notion as to the size of the cliffs.
Finally, around the bend, the Lionsgate bridge came into sight.
One of the container ships from English Bay on the way to Coal Harbor. Was it only six months ago that I'd never heard these names, let alone know what they signified?

By now you've learned that I have a bit of a bridge phobia, but for some reason, this bridge does not bother me. Seeing how huge the pilings are makes me all the less afraid.
It was not long after this that Matt and Tom called and we had a lovely Facetime chat. I was able to show them the scene below while I sat on a bench to talk.
Unbelievable that there are actually fluffy clouds in the sky, so please discount what I'd written earlier about how they never occur here. Not only did they call, but they sent flowers on Friday,
as did David and Michelle. Such a sweet surprise.
Once I sat down I realized I was getting a wee bit tired and the lunch hour had long past. Looking to cut through the park, I took this muddy path which reminded me that there is yet a lot of park to explore with my camera, hoping it will work that same healing magic.
The phone just rang and it was Urban Animal Hospital calling. The young woman said she just wanted to let me know that "we got Baxter back". I'm not sure how else she could have phrased it, however, sadly, there is no getting Baxter back. He will, however, never be forgotten.

yours truly,


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