For forty years we had a wonderful life together and then she died of cancer at 63. If it had not been for my wonderful family and caring friends, I do not know how I would have been able to cope. Before she left us she whispered, “I want you to have a good life,” and I told her I would try.
It is now over one year later and I was determined to do my best to fulfill her request. When the darkness of despair began to accumulate, I forced myself to go out, to meet my family and friends and through the influence of one of them, I became interested in photography. Especially of birds.
Now there is a real dichotomy here. If you know birds, we perceive them to be things of beauty and beautiful sounds. They can soar above the land, high up in the clear blue sky, giving the illusion of peace and tranquility. Yet, the real life of a bird is rather harsh, continuously searching for food, watching for predators, nesting and feeding their young and then migrating hundreds of miles twice a year in a gruelling quest for survival, only to repeat the process year after year. So here one has beauty and struggle. The struggle is part of nature and we can not do anything about that, but we can emphasize their beauty, the illusion of free soaring through the sky away from the worries down below, and through this recognize what joy they impart to our spirits. To emphasize the positive is a conscious decision in our human perception of the bird. Many times I have been asked, if you came back as an animal, what would you like to be? It was always an eagle.
With the dark clouds of grief in my mind, I forced myself to bring in rays of sunshine, slowly crowding out the grey and bringing in the light. I took many pictures and every once in a while some stood out from the rest and made me smile and feel good about the world, about myself, about my avian friends, about the future, and pushed a little more of the grey clouds beyond the horizon. It is still an ongoing process.
Everyone is different and has to find what will work for them. Photography and birds is one of the things that has worked for me.