My Impetuous Self

Homage: The Crow, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

(or why only priests and monks should take photos of birds)

OK, I admit it. I’m a hurried sort. I rush, I run, I ramble, Hell, I was even born in New York City. What do you expect? (They say the slow folks are from Staten Island but, like, I would never know. I was too busy running around to notice.) I’m just an “out of my way! Move! Beep! Beep!” kind of a girl in a fast-paced, MTV, in-your-face kind of a world. I’m like that old song, “everything all the time” in overdrive, “faster! Faster! Faster!” I’m not the kind of girl who likes to sit around and wait, ok?

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to admit that I suffer from a complete lack of patience. It’s hard for me to realize that nothing is instant in this world, except for maybe instant mashed potatoes, and even they take about 90 seconds in the microwave (I know. Believe me, I know. I’ve tapped my foot and twiddled my fingers for that long, waiting.) You would think that, based on this personality trait alone, well, photography would be a living Hell for me (and, sometimes, I guess, it is.)

Photography is a lot about patience. Waiting for just the right light. Waiting for the sun to move, waiting for the waves to crash. With all that waiting, well, you learn patience after a while. If you aren’t a patient sort from the beginning, all of that “waiting for the sun to move” will teach it to you eventually. Even somebody like me. I’ve become, as much as I hate to admit it, a little more patient-especially since I’ve gotten older (still, not really “patient” by any stretch of the imagination, just, well, maybe a little bit “less impetuous” as it were.) I’ve learned to wait for buses, trains, cars, even that big ball of orange lighted goodness in the sky, the sun, to move. I’ve learned to breathe while people walked into and out of my shot (again and again.) I’ve learned to relax (a bit) and started to gain comfort in knowing that, if I wait long enough, the shot will come. “All good things come to those who wait,” respect the timing and the order of the universe, you know, that sort of thing.

But, there’s one type of photography I just don’t do. Call me crazy, call me impetuous, call me a hasty pudding treat, call me what you will. Go ahead, laugh. Find humor in my complete lack of patience, I don’t care.

I don’t take pictures of birds.

For those of you who don’t know, in order to take pictures of birds (and I mean “good pictures” not the sort of snapshotty, “look! If you squint, I think that’s a hawk!” kind of shots) you have to get up at some un-Godly hour (picture 3 a.m.) go out into the freezing woods, setup a camera, tripod, and all of your gear (especially a looong lens. You need a really long lens to shoot birds) and wait for hours-waiting for a little birdie to flap his (or her) wing. It’s cold, it’s annoying, it’s, well, it’s just plain HARD for people like me, ok? It’s not even HARD, it’s, actually, it’s impossible. Take somebody like me, put her in the woods at 3a.m., set me up waiting for a little birdie to twitch in a few hours and, well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s just not going to happen in my lifetime, ok? It’s not that I don’t like birds (I do.) It’s not that I couldn’t take good pictures of birds if plunked into that situation (I could) it’s just that I can’t tolerate the waiting game. I just can’t wait for the birds to chirp, flap their little wings, and gaze at the breaking dawn. It would kill me. It’s just much too much waiting for one impetuous person to take. It would (literally) drive me over the edge.

Which brings me to my next assertion. Only priests and monks should photograph birds.

Priests, monks, religious persons of this nature have a lot of patience. They have to, if you think about it. I mean, crap, they’ve sacrificed all that’s good in this life, gambling on the next one, right? Try telling somebody like me to give up food, clothing, sex, and all that other “instant” sort of goodness because, well, I’ll be rewarded in the afterlife. I can’t wait that long. Somebody who can wait an entire lifetime to wear stylish clothing, eat what they want when they want to, and have sex, well, if you ask me, there’s somebody who can go photograph a bird. It’s not that I don’t respect priests, I do. It’s just that, well, they’re good at that waiting game. They’re ready, willing, and able, to sacrifice everything in this life and wait until the afterlife for their reward. They are willing to wait a lifetime, hoping that, once they get up to the pearly gates, they’ll be able to eat a steak on Friday. If they can do that, why, heck, getting them out of bed at 3a.m., dragging them off into the woods, and having them wait a measly few hours for a little birdie to flap it’s wing, why, that’s a walk in the park, right?

Chirp on that next time you try to photograph a little birdie.

Until next wing and a prayer…


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