Bob's photograph of a duck in the water
The air smells like autumn as I'm easing myself into the water. I do this just before sunrise so the birds will not be startled, and then I wait for the magic hour to begin. Actually, there are two magic hours for outdoor photographers; the hour as the sun is rising and the hour before night fall. On this morning a huge congregation of ducks is gathered in the bay. In a few minutes the light becomes perfect. Transformed by the glow of a rising sun, the ducks slowly evolve from murky grey shadows to become distinct birds with colourful feathers, sporting deep blue and green hues. Their bodies are reflected in the water just waiting to be captured on film.
Birds react to movement more than they do to noise. The whining sound of a camera's motor drive will make them turn and look at you. Bonus. The movement of your shoulders however will make them fly away, so it really helps to make yourself look like you are just a part of the surroundings. On this day I am wearing chest waders and disguised in a floating blind. The only thing showing is a telephoto lens.
My blind is working perfectly, as it turns out, too perfectly. The ducks think I am a beaver lodge. So too, I realize, does a snake that is swimming along the edge of the shoreline. I make some gentle movements to the left and then the right, but the snake is undeterred. I gently bob the blind up and down. The snake keeps coming. It was a hilarious moment as it finally arrived and entered the blind. For a few seconds I had company. Rather than having its picture taken, it moved over the barrel of my lens and eventually carried on out the other side of the blind.
Hiding in plain sight.
A blind in a pond
Have you ever felt like you have been hiding in plain sight? Fully aware of all kinds of activity going on around you, you are snapping mental images and recording stories in your mind. Yet you feel alone. Then you are surprised by someone or something that, like the snake, doesn't buy into your disguise. While capturing the moments on film, interpreting the moments, I was immersed in the moment. But when my visitor arrived my focus shifted and brought
me back into the picture. I felt the joy and wonder of the snake’s arrival and some loss as it carried on its way.
The snake and my reaction to it exposed something about me. I learned something about myself: put simply, I am happiest and most aware of my humanity when something surprises me. This leads to a simple principle. I can't know myself without you. The
you can be an early morning sunrise, the experience of hearing the excitement of ducks, or someone whose presence causes me to learn something new about me. I am no longer hiding in plain sight.
Part of the working theory that informs Spiritual Care Professionals is the recognition that learning about yourself is always a spiritual event. Wonderfully, events like these can go on for a lifetime.
To find out more about what a spiritual care professional can provide, contact the Spiritual Care Department.