Sunday, June 12, 2005

Close Up


She wanted pictures of their garden. From the dock, she suggested. I was happy to oblige; happy behind a camera. And landscapes don’t blush, hide, ham or groan when you point your lens at them.

Resilience. That’s what my mother-in-law wanted to record. Full recovery two years after Isabel brought the Chesapeake Bay over the little peninsula where they live, coating all plant life with brine and seaweed and poisoning their drinking water.

From a distance the white-framed screened porch and green gable-roofed cottage with its green lawn and stony riffraff dominate, reflected beauty rippling in the creek. But the flowers drew me in, demanded my fussy attention. Was I in the right vantage point? Would the dew sparkle on the lush fuchsia peony petals when captured in my camera? Would the riot of color in the pot of argyranthumum (no, really) please on paper as they do to the naked eye? The purple Verbena, Lavender, flowering Chives, and robust Pansies were all at peak and inviting.

I stretched the task all through the Memorial Day weekend, playing with morning light and shadows; enjoying the midday sun that illuminated all; relishing languorous afternoon rays angling in from the mouth of Prentice Creek. Fifty frames later I had become intimate with my in-law’s flora (fauna were hiding under the house with their newborn).

Heaven knows, I’m not a gardener. But I am an observer and awe of nature is my religion, my life-line. How can you delve into the depths of that Peony and not see passion, not feel ignited? Botanists may tinker with a plant’s lineage yet the seduction of the animal kingdom by the plant world preceded our meddling.

Sunrises and sunsets; mountain views; nature in the grand aggregate has always impressed me. Now the whimsical, the delicate, the bold grab my attention like never before.