Archive for the ‘hobbies’ Tag

11-16-2012   2 comments

Patience is a virtue. I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told that by family members and friends alike. I guess the reason I’ve heard it so often was that I lacked any patience whatsoever in years past. I was an overachieving, goal oriented, pain in the ass workaholic. For most of my career I worked six days a week and three or four of those days were spent in airplanes flying around the country. So not only was I impatient but I also had  a white-knuckle fear of flying which made me more than a little irritable. Not many people knew of my flying phobia and I never made anyone aware of it until much later in my life.  For years I was on the go constantly and when I made a request I was a major-league pain-in-the-ass about making sure it was honored. That included associates that worked for me, the people that worked with me, and any service personnel paid to do a specific job.

After twenty years I left the “rat race” and  spent the next seven years working for the State of Maine in a job that was hectic but not crazy. During that seven years I was able to dial it back a little and tried to be a little more patient with friends and family. I still had my moments but I felt like I was getting it under control. Out of the blue I began to suffer from severe headaches and fits of rage. Being the paranoid person that I am I found a doctor who ran a normal battery of tests to determine what my issues were. Come to find out I had been suffering from seriously high blood pressure for a number of years and was verging on real problems. The doctor directed me to find a hobby or two to help calm me down. The medication I was immediately given calmed me down in a big way. After so many years of high blood pressure I had a tough time adapting to being so calm. I felt like I was high all the time but I was assured by the doctor that would pass as I became accustomed to the medication. He was right and after a time I leveled out.

Now to find a hobby. I’d been a winemaker for years but not recently. Winemaking forces you to become patient, like it or not. Mix the ingredients together, put in the yeast, and you’re then required to wait up to three or four months to see the final product. During that time you have to baby that wine if you want a satisfactory batch. It actually helped me a great deal. I had been a half-assed photographer for years and returned to it gladly.  Nothing is more calming than communing with Mother Nature and hoping against hope to be in the right place at the right time to get that Kodak moment wildlife shot.

Yesterday was a sunny and reasonably warm Fall day here in Maine. I spent two hours sitting with my back against a tree out in the middle of nowhere attempting to get a photograph of either a bear cub or a barn owl. Three years ago I stumbled into a isolated area and sitting in a tree about 5 feet away from me was that owl.  He’d been sleeping and when I walked up he became frightened and flew away. He only flew a few feet before landing in a nearby tree. I took approximately 20 photographs of him in that tree from all angles. They were some of the best pictures I’d taken up until that time. I’ve been returning to that area for years now and have seen him flying above me but never again had him sitting in a tree. I’m now patient enough to eventually be successful.

The bear is pretty much the same story. I happened to be walking through a wooded area and I heard a rustling about 30 feet up a nearby tree. I looked up and sitting in that tree with just the top of his head sticking up from behind the leaves was a baby bear. I snapped one photograph and he ducked back into the leaf cover. Being the careful person that I am I knew where there was a bear cub there was also a mother some where nearby. I backed off immediately because I had no way to defend myself if she showed up. I’ve returned dozens of times trying to find that young bear and possibly get a decent photograph or two. Now that I’m patient person I may eventually find them but even if I don’t I’ve still succeeded.

What’s the moral of this story? You decide.

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