Spring Flowers

It’s springtime here in the south. The sun is brighter, the days are warmer, and pollen is ubiquitous. This also means flowers in bloom, which this year is all of them at the same time. Colour spouts everywhere. Walkabouts with my camera to explore my new neighborhood have been filled with bountiful blooms.

I’ve been taking pictures: experimenting with close up photos, with framing and with depth of field. It’s been enjoyable, diverting me from the stress of moving, from memories just under the surface. Having to focus on minute details and put into practice skills long unused keeps the mind from wandering to anxiety provoking topics of both the past and the present.

These are the kinds of pictures my father never took, which makes them the kind of pictures I want to take, because they are mine. I claim them for my own, inhabit them completely without being cast into darkness by his shadow.

I never would have expected to see myself interested in these vivid subjects. As a young photographer I was drawn to sweeping vistas, dark skies, and faraway things. The thought of stooping to sample the roses would never have sat right with me. It is too quiet, too sedate, not interesting enough.

I’m reminded of an evening photography class I took one summer as a tween. It covered many topics I found engaging, but it’s the one I wasn’t thrilled about which sticks most in my mind – attention to detail. We were given an assignment to shoot an entire roll of photos of a single object – a stump. I found it difficult to focus on that stump for 3 or 4 frames, how could I take all of 24? I knew I was never going to make it as soon as I started. It’s hardly surprising I got negative from that assignment, though I might still have the few photos I took someplace.

That has changed so much over the intervening years. Now even the smallest thing pulls me in if I let it. A contrast of different color flowers on the same azalea bush, a mix of orange and purple pansies in the same bed. It seems anything becomes helpful in avoiding that which I really don’t want to know or can’t deal with just now. If it’s quiet and beautiful, that makes it even easier to lose myself.

So I walk around, camera in hand soaking up the world waiting for things to draw my attention. The surroundings speak to me visually as I try to notice the wonders hidden in plain view around me instead of the dark memories within.

Every now and then something jumps out, begs to be seen where it wasn’t visible just a moment ago. So I raise the camera, snap a few images to capture an ethereal presence which won’t be there tomorrow and walk on looking for the next moment before the spring flowers fade.

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