I have always appreciated birds. They're stunning, gorgeous, and the beauty of flying gets me when I stop to think about it.
But I have never "heard" them. I don't pay THAT much attention. Until now.
There's this sound that has stayed with me from that moment I heard it...nestled behind a small patch of brush, the dark, early morning surrounded 9 others and myself. I was soaking in such a foreign, pure, silent, stillness [compared to the bustle that accompanies my 3 children] in that early hour, and then a quick warning whisper, "here they come," floated through the air. Another flash of pure silence and then this, "whoosh." [I simply cannot write the sound accurately]. It was a swift, confident, powerful sound. Beautiful. And it haunts me a little.
There was so much depth to this unique shoot. First, I had never been hunting. Until I got some help, I didn't even know what to wear. ;)
Second, these hunters took some extra steps just to be there.
And quite frankly, they have to take extra steps to do a lot of things. I watched all weekend, admiring their casual, "let's make this thing work" attitude and mentally began checking things about which I wouldn't complain anymore.
An old friend of mine asked me to document this hunt that he's hosted for about 10 years. He defines determination and has made the hard choice to enjoy life in some unexpected, difficult circumstances. I don't know which was harder...initially making that choice, or re-choosing it every single day. I have an idea though...
I was honored to be there and share a little bit more of his story in the video [the video was done for the SOAR! blog...the opening is about an assignment of ours which had nothing to do with this hunt].
About that bird sound haunting me...That swift, confident "whoosh" was heard when everything else was still. When I was in tune, focused, and listening in an unfamiliar environment. How often do I let life's noise [my issues] drown out the simple, but powerful moments...moments that remind us to be still. To listen. How often do I get distracted doing the same things over again, things that don't challenge me? How present am I, how focused am I when I am with other people? Am I tuned in to problems or solutions? Do I enjoy life in the unexpected? I know it was just a sound. But for me, that sound, this hunt, those hunters, are such symbols for the way to really LIVE life. I didn't before, but you can bet that I now pay attention to birds.