It already looked big on the map, but once I got there I felt like I had entered some kind of enchanted forest. Perhaps it was the mood I was in, it felt like I was in a bubble and no one else could hear or see me. I could just float around, hearing incomprehensible conversations of passersby as if the sound was muffled by a layer of water. I wondered around, the shutter sound of my camera clicking intermittently, until I had made my way around the park in a wonky circle.
I was losing sunlight rather quickly at the point, so I figured I'd make my way out before it became to dull and dark to take the kind of photos I wanted. I was almost out of the park when I noticed a squirrel running down a tree. Now, one of my favorite things to when taking pictures is to capture a subject in the perfect candid moment. For a lot of animals or insects, that can sometimes simply mean a moment of stillness. So I stood for a while and got some pictures of this squirrel. I looked up from the viewfinder at one point to glance around and I saw what looked like a piece of wood nearby. But this piece of wood wasn't acting like a piece of wood should. It was standing weirdly upright, but complete still and stationary. Perplexed by this optical illusion in the distance, I looked back into the viewfinder and zoomed in.
It wasn't a piece of wood, obviously. It was this strangely beautiful bird... and it was just standing there completely still for most of the time that I watched it. There were a few moments of movement which were almost too quick to be documented - turns of the head, quick leaps forward. It felt like this bird was on show just for me, like it knew that I had come into this park to get a picture of something other than ordinary.
At first I was excited and also nervous about the prospect that this bird could fly away at any moment, so even though it wasn't a difficult shot to get I struggled because my head was clouded by all these other things that trumped by desire and ability to take the photo. So here's what I did... I chanted to myself, "Be the bird" and then proceeded to get as many shots as I could. Eventually I slowed down a bit and moved around a bit more because I realized that this bird wasn't in a rush to get anywhere.
By the time I was ready to leave the park, I had plenty of photos to edit, I was in a much better mood and the bird was still standing there. I've been struggling with managing stress recently and part of the reason why I was coming back from a doctor's appointment in the first place is because I have been trying to regain some control over my mind and my body so that I am able to better function. This unplanned stop over at this park, and that bird in particular, helped me to zone out and not focus on the million and one things that I have to do. It's important to take time out and switch off because it can and will catch up to you.
Sometimes you just have to stop, still your mind and "be the bird".