What we notice and what we don't notice. This hemlock is in our backyard, pretty much straight out from my study window. A couple days ago I was standing in my study, talking on the phone, and idly looking out at the backyard. All at once my attention was caught by something in the tree, near the top on the left. At first I thought a plastic grocery bag had gotten stuck in the branches. But it didn't move with the breeze.
It reminded me of a nature walk I'd been on with a naturalist once. He was showing us the fruits on a large bush, and as we looked, my attention moved from the surface layer to much deeper within the bush, and I suddenly noticed more fully a gray shape that I'd only been vaguely aware of while looking at the fruit. It was a paper wasps' nest, an elegant structure with an entrance at the bottom and eaves at the top. The naturalist enthusiastically explained how the wasps gathered near those top openings in hot weather, fanning their wings to cool off the nest.
And as I looked at this object, I realized that I was looking at another paper wasp nest. It's full of bald-faced hornets, a type of wasp. In the right light, they have blue, iridescent wings. The nest is far enough from the house that we'll probably leave it till winter -- the hornets die off with the first hard frost.
We're wondering how quickly it grew. From our perspective, it appeared overnight. But more likely it has been there for awhile, and we just never noticed. And at this particular moment, the light was at the right angle, making it more visible, rather than it blending into the shadows as I've discovered it does most of the day.
I wonder what else is out in my backyard, that I just haven't noticed yet?
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"