An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 9, 2008
Issued from the woods edge near Natchez, Mississippi, USA

WAITING FOR THE LIGHT

Late last Saturday afternoon at Pipes Lake I came upon Jerry gazing expectantly across the lake, his camera fixed on a tripod and aimed where he was looking, into the setting sun. You can see that pretty moment below:

Jerry waiting for light at Pipes Lake

"I'm just waiting to see what happens with the sunlight," he hollered back to me, hardly willing to take his eyes off the slowly evolving scene before him. "Before long the lake will be a mirror, and who knows what things will look like then?"

I sat behind Jerry admiring his intense appreciation of light, and how it interacts with form, texture and meaning. I've seen Jerry almost hyperventilate as he waited for perfect moments, almost overwhelmed as the various esthetic and mystical machinations before him mingled synergistically, even though before the same scene a normal person might see only a leaf in sunshine, a beetle with iridescent wing-covers, or nothing but a glistening rock.

As Jerry gazed across Pipes Lake I knew he was monitoring how the setting sun caused tree leaves to grow more yellow than green, how silvery, concentric rings of waves expanding from whirligig gyrations formed sharp glistens where they intersected linear wave-lines originating from the nose of a juvenile alligator drifting lazily across the lake. Treefrogs croaking, mosquitoes buzzing, black tree-trunk silhouetting, heavy humidity smelling of pine resin and magnolia blossoms, fluty Wood Thrush calls emanating from deep, shadowy gullies... The question was how to recognize the precise moment during all these evolving processes, all these comings and goings, when Yin and Yang were at equilibrium, and the shutter might be snapped...

"There is a lucky man," I thought. "How I wish that everyone knew this thing that Jerry knows, which is how to passionately care for a world just being itself, how to covet things that are free and soul-nourishing, and offered without strings attached." Facebook Icon.