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  • Writer's picturePearl Lorentzen

Caught mid-flight

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

The other day I took photos of a woman's garden. When we were done, we stood on her front lawn chatting, with the water on my right.

All of a sudden, she pointed toward the water and said, "look."

I turned just as a coopers hawk caught a tern in midair. I snapped a photo as the raptor obligingly took a breather on the dock. The tern splayed out under it.

A coopers hawk pins a tern it caught in midair. Photo by Pearl Lorentzen.

As it flew away with its prey, I took another. I'm not sure why the tern's wings are also up. Maybe it was still alive or the force of the eagles wings moved them as well.

The hawk flies off with its prey. Photo by Pearl Lorentzen.

It was one of those rare moments when everything clicked. Many factors converged at that moment. We were on the lawn overlooking the water. The lady saw the bird. I reacted quickly. I had my camera in my hands. I'd been practicing taking photos of birds in flight. I didn't over think it. The eagle took a break and the in-flight photo is only slightly blurry.

While practicing taking photos of flying birds, I have taken dozens of photos of sky where a bird used to be and blurry birds halfway out of the frame. However, all of that frustration gave me the skills I needed to take this photo. One of them being, just take the shot and hope for the best.

Even if the photos hadn't turned out, it would still have been an amazing experience, but it was made even better by being able to capture it.

All the factors which had to come together to take these two photos reminds me of writing.

Writing is my biggest joy, but also my biggest torment.

Sometimes the words and ideas click together, but sometimes they spin, wobble, or hide from my conscious mind. When this happens, I mutter and pace, and occasionally yell. Most of the time, I can push through and get something down. However, there are times when I throw in the towel for a while. Some breaks are good and sometimes not so good.

This emotional rollercoaster is why I've started keeping a writing journal. It seems counterintuitive to decompress from writing by writing, but it helps. I find it almost as therapeutic as going for a walk.

I very rarely find writing an emotional void. It tends toward the highest high and the lowest low. In both case, I need time to reflect and return to the world outside of my head and pen. Even those times, when writing is a smooth transmission of ideas onto the page. There's some type of emotion attached to it.

There is also mental stimulation, which can be almost as bad for coping with the world outside my head as emotions.

I also write my journal for my future self. I decided I wanted to be a writer in 2006. Since then, I had good, bad, and indifferent experiences with writing. I want to remember how far I've come.

I tell my future self about the day when the ideas flowed so quickly my fingers couldn't keep up. I write about my anger and frustration at myself when I haven't written in a while. This helps me forgive myself in the present and hopefully in the future. The hard times reminds me that this too shall pass. That I've been this angry and discouraged before and yet I'm still writing.

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Pearl Lorentzen
Aug 16, 2020

Thanks Aaron, I'd checked the bird against Peterson's but since the belly wasn't visible it didn't look like the illustrations. Now that you mention it however, the tail is the same and the legs.


Aug 15, 2020

Nice article and "that's the truthhhh" Check out Cooper's Hawk for the bird.

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