A Saturday Morning Walk in the Meadow
By: Annette Osborn
Saturday. After a long week of work, I usually get up earlier on this day than any other. No work today. This morning I plan on going for an early morning hike around our property to take some macro shots. After glancing out the window and seeing a gentle, glowing, early morning sun, I poke my sleeping husband in the shoulder and tell him I’m going out to shoot. He mumbles “have fun, be careful, love you” and rolls over and resumes his snoring. Gus, my shepherd/retriever mix, for all his love of our entire family, is my dog. As I quietly leave the bedroom he looks anxiously at me. A sideways tilt of my head and a wave of the hand tells him that I’m not going to work and that he can come.
Brrr. Almost 50 degrees (Fahrenheit). No sandals this morning. Getting slugs between one’s toes while walking in tall, wet grass is an overrated sensation anyway. I gather my camera and my dog and head out the door. My main focus is the meadow next to our house, which consists of a gloriously unmowed mix of grasses, legumes, and wild flowers, sparkling with jewels of heavy dew. A few cross stitch spiders and their webs are still present in the landscape, their webs covered with dew. With the advancing season I have fewer bugs to choose from, but my focus this morning is the dew and the Black-eyed susans, Asters, Daisies, Phlox, Queen Anne’s Lace, Bachelor Buttons, and a dozen other flowers that grow wild around me. Many of the flowers are looking tired and worn, showing the effects of the inevitable passage of the warm season, but there is a completeness, a feeling of closure, as the green of summer fades and loses it’s grip on the land. Soon green will give way to brown, and brown to white, and slowly, inexorably, to green again. I will be on this path, capturing memories in every color and season.
Gus bounds ahead along the meadow path. He knows where I’m going when I have my camera in my hands, having accompanied me on many strolls. He has, on occasion, run directly through a bejeweled spider web or upset a patch of saw grass covered in sparkling dew, however, I would never think of not bringing him. He is as important to me during my morning walks as my shoes or my camera. Probably more so, as I would continue to take this walk without my camera, and probably without my shoes, but it wouldn’t be the same without my Gus.
Once in the meadow I start to see on a smaller scale. The world reduces to a single piece of grass covered in droplets of water, a chilly wasp walking around on a stalk of Goldenrod, waiting for the sun to warm him so he can fly away, and dozens of tiny worlds that I do my best to capture with my camera. I hope that my pictures make others happy. If my pictures can transport the viewer to my meadow, a piece of grass, a faded flower petal, or a colorful insect flying by, and feel for a split second how I feel when I see it, then I’ve been successful. Soon, I am wet from squatting, kneeling, and laying in the grass, but the day begins to warm quickly and new opportunities for shots begin to fly, crawl, and wriggle by.
As I look toward the east, I squint as the rising sun clears the low clouds. The misty golden light begins to resolve into what will be a sunny, clear, and mild autumn day. I’ve been outside for at least an hour, but I have no real concept of time when I take my Saturday morning walks. My stressful but much beloved life pauses for a moment at these times. Gus, a very self satisfied expression on his face, sits next to me as I rise from the tall, wet grass. I often tell myself that I really need to wear something warmer and more waterproof, but then again I often tell myself that I will avoid laying on my stomach in dew covered grass.
I can hear my children beginning to move around through the windows of the house. My youngest opens the porch door and calls to me, asking if I saw any butterflies. Time begins to move at normal speed again. The “to do” list, that is always getting longer, starts to play through my head. A lot of chores await the family as we get our property and animals ready for a NY winter. I have no idea how many pictures I have taken. Three or four keepers would be great. Thoughts of the meadow recede behind the hustle and bustle of daily life. Later, hopefully, I will load my pictures onto my computer and see what I was able to capture. My artistic reverie recedes, as I referee the heated debate of waffles vs pancakes for breakfast. As I brush my daughters hair I look out the window and see a few late season butterflies beginning to flit around. “Marie,” I say to my daughter, “ look out the window. What do you see?” “Butterflies!” she exclaims in an excited voice. “Get your camera Mommy!” “Come on Gus! But don’t scare the Butterflies!”….. You know, those chores can really wait until tomorrow…..