1 May 2011

missed photo - strong encounter

now, there was an opportunity - and i missed it, or did i?

yesterday evening, coming home and into the living room, i found myself in the company of a queen hornet (vespa crabro) trying to get out of the closed window! never seen one before. what an extraordinary sight - very close to two inches long and vibrating with life, intensity and purpose.

as all external doors and windows were closed, i imagine the following: this week gone we have just started replacing the roof of the old chalet i live in, a lot of banging, hammering, ripping out old stuff has been going on in the attic and i wonder whether she was disturbed from up there, having overwintered or perhaps even already considering building a new nest in the roof. i stared at her in awe with a fast beating heart (running through numerous 'urban myths' concerning hornets) for some considerable time and then was so intent on moving her safely out of the house, carrying her a good way away from my home down into the woods, that it wasn't until i finally saw her flying off into the dusk that i realized "oh no, didn't take a single picture....". unbelievable, isn't it. so much for the always prepared photographer. but you know what - and i have felt this numerous times before: sometimes the absence of a camera is a good thing. it often seems that when there is a camera between me and the 'object' that this somehow diminishes the impact of the immediate experience. there is too much concern about getting a good 'record', the camera becomes a subtle barrier between me and 'it', emphasizing our separateness. when the camera is not there, i often find that my connection to what i have stumbled across is much more raw and emotional and leaves a far deeper impression, reverberating in my mind for a long time. it doesn't become a picture, but a real encounter and a powerful and lasting memory to treasure. part of me is really glad that i missed this 'picture', but oh boy, am i glad to have met this queen hornet.

will i leave the camera in the bag next time? well, we'll see, i'd certainly recommend it once in a while.

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