I’m sitting in the mist-filled woods, in the chill of the late morning, and I’ve been sitting here since well before the sun rose. I’ve been sitting in the same position, nervous to move, afraid that the basic act of scratching my nose will be all that it takes to broadcast my presence to the entire woods.
I’m about to nod off when I sense movement. I sense it to my left, through the leaves and the brush. It sounds almost mystical to describe it that way, doesn’t it? Maybe it is mystical. It could just be instinct. But whatever might be happening in the world beyond my sight, I know that something is there. It just needs to step into the clearing. And it makes me even more afraid to move. After all, if I can sense it, can it sense me?
I stop breathing and shift, almost imperceptibly. And I wait.
If I move, if I breathe, I might frighten my quarry away, and then all of my hopeful waiting will have been in vain. Through the green of the underbrush I see a spot of brown, and my breath catches because I know that my quarry is there. I’ve been waiting for this. I’ve been patient, I’ve been hopeful, and now – it is coming. My shot is coming.
Moving as slowly as possible, I take careful aim, and wait for my quarry to reveal itself fully. While I wait I’m aware of several things happening at the same time: A single fly that has apparently fallen in love with my right ear; I’m aware of the clouds overhead, riding the winds in between me and the sun, and I watch as their shadows slip through the trees and bushes; In the distance, I hear the sound of the highway, the rumbling of the big eighteen wheelers as they journey towards their destinations unaware of the drama playing out just off the highway.
The entire world is unaware that this is happening, this dance of life in the woods. Oh, a few people know where I am, but to most of the world, it’s not happening. Most of the world doesn’t know and doesn’t care if I succeed or if I fail. But I am confident that I’m doing what I was born to do, and it all rests on my ability to take the shot when it comes. If I succeed, maybe the world will know, and maybe they will celebrate with me. If I fail I’ll be back where I started, back in this spot in the woods, waiting, and hoping.
And nobody will know.
I’m brought out of my revelry by movement behind the trees, but it is not the movement I hope for. The spot of brown disappears into the forest. Slipping away as silently as it came. I think it knew I was here, that I was waiting.
It wasn’t the right time.
I relax, and shift in my seat, and lower my camera. But I’m not going anywhere. I will continue to wait, for as long as it takes.
I won’t leave until I get the shot.