Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Galahs in Every Light

A Gathering of Galahs (Photo by Narca)

Most of us grow jaded with what's familiar. However awesome the spectacle, however exquisite the trogon, once we've seen a hundred or a thousand, or twelve thousand, we eventually stop seeing––seeing––them. Noel is exceptional in this regard.

In Australia, Galahs gather with hundreds of their kind to chatter, and screech, and feed, and dangle acrobatically from telephone lines. These pink-and-gray cockatoos stalk around suburban lawns, hang out in trees and along railway tracks, descend on agricultural areas, and perch on snags to catch the early morning sun––and they do it across an entire continent.

Yet, for Noel, every Galah we see is the First Galah, new-minted and just arrived on planet Earth––and of course each one of them needs to be photographed. Our Aussie friends, jaded from a lifetime of living around Galahs, seem intrigued and (politely) amused when a flock of Galahs appears, and Noel grabs his camera. I try to explain: "The light's different now from what it was an hour ago when he photographed them. He's photographed Galahs at dawn, Galahs by noonlight, Galahs at dusk, Galahs by stormlight––but not yet Galahs by 9 AM light."

I think they looked more closely at those Galahs than they had for some time. Another person's enthusiasm can do that: it can reawaken our own wonder, and allow us to see freshly, with new eyes, with original eyes.

Galah by stormlight––now there's a subject for a painting!

No comments:

Post a Comment