Yesterday was the day I was going to get to meet with my friend Tim, who was home for a short visit from his Marine Corps assignment in North Carolina. Since it was a relatively sunny day, I timed our visit so I could drive home through the rice fields and take a few photos of the Sutter Buttes at sunset. It was great to see him, as always. We talked for a couple of hours, and by 4:00 or so the sun was hanging low in the sky, which meant it was time for me to get on the road for home. I left the cafe, feeling content at having had this time, and I headed out to the backside of Marysville, to Ramirez Road, for my drive through the rice fields. I came up over the levee where fields full of water sat reflecting the sky, happy to be able to take this leisurely drive home. I was puttering along, driving with no hurry, just enjoying the quiet out, when I came upon a big group of swans sitting in a field of water. I pulled over to take a shot or twenty of them.
They looked like a field of cobras, all those long swaying necks moving back and forth sinuously. I couldn’t get too close because the swampiness of the rice field extended all the way to the roadside, so I stretched out the telephoto and started snapping away. A couple of cars roared past, and then it was quiet. The swans ignored me and my camera, and continued their conversation as they paddled around in this shallow water. All of a sudden, it seemed like everything exploded. With no warning the sky was filled with birds, all of them honking and cackling, flapping their wings in a riot of sound and movement. Everywhere I looked were birds flying in great circles overhead, back and forth and around again.
There were small ones and big ones and even huge ones, all flying together and all shouting at once. It was as if something had suddenly triggered their enthusiasm for showing me just who they could be. And show me they did!
Finally, it stopped, as suddenly as it had started. Stowing my camera, I got in my car and drove away. Today I’m still thinking about this, thankful for this amazing show. I’m left wondering how I show the world who I can be. How do I even show this to myself?