I hear tell, we’re all hanging out on a big round ball spinning in space around a bigger round ball. The thing I have noticed about spinning around and around is that things seem to happen over and over… sometimes it’s often and sometimes it’s very rare. I have noticed, each year when we are about here on our lap around the track, I tend to find myself feeling a little underwhelmed… a little dark a little cold – Under-challenged, underwhelmed, maybe even… dare I say, bored. Every year though, I try to use that discomfort and force myself to go find the alternative.
This year, no exception. I’m have been finding myself fidgeting in the dark that is winter in February in the Black Hills. I have pushed myself to go out and see what the world has to offer and boy-howdy has it shown me some beautiful things.
I’ve crawled through Spearfish Canyon and sat in the waist deep snow and watched the crystal clear water meander through the frozen spruce trees. It was also there where I watched the trees whisper to the sun as the softest breeze lifted the delicate ice off the pine branches up to the sun.
I found myself crawling through the recently scorched earth in Custer State Park where I was able to find a different kind of beauty, one of change, destruction, growth, potential, and renewal.
I’ve wandered, I’ve hiked, I’ve fallen on my ass and most of all I have sat and carefully witnessed what mother nature has to show me this time around. The moments are more subtle, more delicate, more poetic and soft but they are there with abundance and there for us if we’re willing to look
But back to the topic of redundancy, I do feel compelled to share with you one such occurrence that brought me the utmost joy. It happened yesterday as I finished my wander out in the biggest snow storm we’ve had this winter. The snow, falling steady has laid a thick blanket over everything. I ventured out again to see the world with its fresh new coat. This trip took me down through the heart of the hills to Sylvan Lake, through Custer State Park and out to Highway 79 before coming back home into Rapid City. I decided I wasn’t quite done and did a little bopping around from park to park to see what there was to see. My last stop found me turning right into a little out of the way park where I got out and walked a bit along the still flowing creek. The air was cold the snow was heavy enough to get caught up in my eye lashes. I took some deep breaths before noticing several birds picking at berries along the creek – I wandered over and to my delight they were Cedar Waxwings.
Now, I have to interject here that I have had a fascination with these delightful birds for years, ever since they started stopping by my moms house for a couple weeks each Spring on their way through on their migration. They have the sweetest little noise they make, it’s not a song, or a tweet, it’s more of a hum, but it’s enchanting. Often I have been able to identify them because I hear them before I see them. I am digressing, point is, I have loved them for a long time, I have seen them all over and I have ALWAYS tried to get photos of them to no avail. Yesterday though, yesterday was my day, there they were, in the most unlikely of places… just sitting there, eating berries and only looking slightly annoyed at the sideways snow.
But here’s the best part, and where I bring it all back to that circular thing I touched on at the top of this post.
They sat, perched each on their own branch, stacked up in the little tree right next to the creek and I immediately thought of another photo I had taken, several laps around the sun ago…. It was a very similar day – a day of heavy snow, a day of personal discontent, a day I found myself wondering, looking, seeking…
That day I saw several robins up in a tree, it was only slightly later in the spring – the trees were budding and these robins… they were so glorious up there in those trees. I captured the shot and it went on to be one of my most appreciated photos to date – and is still one of my favorite photos to this day.
And here I sat, all these years later, looking at a very similar sight but this time they were cedar waxwings! The birds I have delighted me for years but have always escaped me. Yesterday when I needed it the most they let me walk right up to them and got into formation and they let me know, that even though we go around and around and around, and even though sometimes seem redundant, there is still delight to be found even around the most familiar of corners.
Spring is coming friends, the blanket of white will melt and soon it will grow into a blanket of green. The cycle continues and what a gift it is to have a seat on this ride.