I wandered onto private property, which is nothing out of the usual for me. That is why I am always camouflaged like a wayward soldier from some forgotten war on the edges of suburbia. And when I pop into the local grocery store everyone stares and some get a bit edgy. But I only shoot with a camera, and the camo is only so I can cross those invisible boundaries Man has cookie-cut the countryside up over eons of time and placed flags of conquer, reconquer, and re-reconquer. Personally, to me, those lines me nothing. And I intend no harm. My motto is to leave it better, if possible, than I found it, cleaning litter from the woodlands and fields as I go along exploring.
This particular man was not pleased when he spotted me down in the massive dirt pit that had been scooped out over many years to be sold as fill dirt and hollowed as a low spot. An isolated pond, a very clean and natural looking pond with blooming white lotus had formed, with cat-tails reaching over ten feet tall shooting upwards at the hot August sun like Olympic javelins from every shallow point. And the insects, away from the onslaught of humans, highways, and genetic mutating pesticides, had lost their fear, if ever they had had it at all, reverting to a time when creatures found you as much a curiosity. And only from a distance from about two feet away, I framed and snapped this shot of this happy-looking dragonfly seconds before the “Hey YOU!”
He saw the camera, had expected a fishing rod, so eased up a bit, like the red cape had been yanked and the bull had no aim. I stuck out my hand and expressed that I knew him, or at least of his family. In fact, I had painted a mural of angels in his mother-in-law’s hallway years ago before she had passed on becoming an angel herself. I asked him how his son, Jason was, how tall he’d grown? And with that foe turned into friend, and he told me to take my time and enjoy it, the pond, the wildlife he was trying to protect himself from harm ‘out there’. He said I should come earlier in the mornings when the sparrows tornadoed the belly of the dirt pit like a mad rushing of bats from a primordial cave.
And the next morning I did, but that is another story...
Photo credits: Ryan Sartoski.