Reflections: Fully equipped to capture whatever life offers

There comes a time, it seems, in everyone’s life when you see something and wish you had a camera. That happens to me quite often. I’ll be outside, let’s say, feeding the birds. Along comes one of my favorites, a rose-breasted Groesbeck and his lady. They perch three feet away and watch me pour their favorite seed into a feeder.

There they are watching me watching them. They’re hungry. I’m cameraless. By the time I wander aimlessly into the house and return with a camera, they’re full enough and flit away.

There they were. There I am. In the guts of the camera there is one more blurry picture.

Now, for a long time I have been toting my camera in the car. You see, people tell me things such as, “Did you know there are vultures perched on that one barn just about every morning?”

Or, “Did you ever see that eagle flying out by the corner of, what is it? Chestnut and 10?”

Or, “Did you see the fox back by the bridge again?”

Nope, nope and nope.

So I started toting a camera pretty religiously whenever and wherever I go.

Saw the eagle. He was being chased unmercifully higher and higher into the sky at that very intersection with crows in pursuit. He finally spiraled a couple of rungs higher than they seemed able to follow.

He winged it by the time I got the car parked and the camera out the window.

Saw the fox. It outfoxed me. By the time I parked the car and got the camera, I turned back to where he was, and he wasn’t. Or she was and she wasn’t. Regardless. I did and I didn’t. Have the camera and get a picture.

BUT, I’ll tell you what. I toted a camera every morning for a long time hoping to get a glimpse of those vultures I’d been told about. Day after day. Suddenly, my husband said, “Look.”

I looked. I saw. A trio of vultures all in a row. I flipped on a signal light, turned right at the first corner, pulled over, jumped out, and started walking to the west a bit. Didn’t seem scared. Rather unimpressed. That was them. Me? A tad scared. Okay. Scared. Impressed. With me. That I was even out of the car.

Now, I’ve seen vultures before. And they’ve seen me. I’ve taken pictures of them up in the trees on Todd Street in Reed City and on Slosson too. But these birds were sitting there looking like they owned the place. They weren’t hidden behind leaves and branches and getting cloaked in darkness, looking scarier and scarier as the light faded. Or just out there flying around.

These were bold birds. But when I turned that corner, they were hunched like Grandpa used to be after mowing his huge old yard with a motor-less push mower on a hot summer day.

When I got out of the car toting a camera, they had repositioned themselves. Their wings were outstretched like they wanted to convince me they were actually angels.

Now, I’d been told they did that. Sort of as though they were lining up to do calisthenics, or making sure they were spaced properly. Who knows, but I had never seen them do such a thing before. Someone once told me they did it to dry out their wings after being hunched up and bunched up in trees overnight.

I thought they were spoofing me, but here were birds that were standing like statues and staring at me. I took one quick picture, then hurried to tell my hubby to come look at these things.

He thought I was kidding. I knew I was not.

So here’s proof. Only time I’ve ever seen them do that. Next day, instead of a trio of birds, there were 13 on the roof, and a 14th trying to convince them to let him land. Nobody moved.

I took a picture, watched and laughed. He was still circling when we left.

Next morning as we got in the car, Hubby said, “Hey, look!” I turned and did, and there was a vulture bearing down on us in our own driveway. I didn’t have a camera. I didn’t need one. I’ll never forget the picture.

I don’t glance at that barn now. Don’t care. I think they were embarrassed we caught them exercising. One apparently got the license number. Knows where we live. I don’t mess with birds with a bigger wingspan than mine. Besides, I now believe the bit about drying out their wings. After that one flew down the driveway at us, I needed to air my armpits too.