This morning, I woke up without an alarm at precisely the same time the alarm goes off on work days. Although I didn’t get the ideal amount of sleep and considered going back to sleep, I sensed there was a gift awaiting on the misty morning river and went to the dock.
The pastel tones of the developing sunrise were pretty enough. But after snapping one picture, I remembered the missed opportunity from yesterday: the great blue heron that had been so close but that I hadn’t noticed until it squawked and flew away. I turned my eyes in the direction from which it emerged yesterday, and sure enough: There was my friend, the heron, standing like a statue maybe 30 yards away in the mist.
I spent the rest of the sunrise observing and photographing the heron, noticing its energy and focus and how it reacted to all the work boat traffic passing by and generating a lot of turbulence on the water.
Having missed the heron yesterday, I was grateful for another chance today and seized it fully. The gift hidden inside missed opportunities – if we choose to unwrap it – is increased awareness and presence. We realize there is more going on than meets the eye and can fine-tune our intention, vision, and determination to pay fuller attention next time. Or this very moment.
I’m sure there were plenty of opportunities this morning for sunrise river landscapes, but that’s not what I was interested in. It’s not where my heart was. To quote Paulo Coelho again (this time from The Alchemist):
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
I think many of my best photos originate from that heart space.
I meditated on the heron for the half hour or so we were sunrise companions and can’t think of any better attunement to begin this new day.
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