Taking a Moment to Look

This past Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of my wife’s iPhone alarm a little before 6am. She was taking her geology class on an out-of-town field trip, thus the early rise on a weekend morning. After getting out of bed and looking out the window, she encouraged me to get up and take a look myself at the fiery sliver of red illuminating the eastern horizon. As the sun rose, it ignited the leading edge of a storm front and slowly spread its embers throughout the sky.

Despite my tired eyes, I grabbed my camera and started shooting as I sat on the tailgate of my truck in the driveway. I must have taken 70 photos before the raindrops chased me inside, where I carefully selected the best of the photos to post online. I chose this photo (above) to post to Facebook, with the simple caption, “Good morning everyone….” After a few positive comments, I realized that I had simply captured a masterpiece of Mother Nature’s doing.  As fellow writer and gardener Anne Larson commented, “Mother Nature has it down cold, if we only take a moment to look.”

Hours later, Anne returned to note, “But if we don’t, Chris has it covered!”

Anne’s wonderful compliment started me thinking about my niche in the world of botanical writing and photography. I don’t hold a degree in horticulture, design gardens for clients, or consider myself an expert on any particular botanical subject. I often wonder where I fit in the crowded continuum of talented people who share their creativity and insight on all things botanical.

Perhaps Anne has pointed out what I’ve failed to see — that my niche is sharing the view through my lens and the thoughts that view inspires in me. It’s a niche that doesn’t require advanced degrees, just a unique perspective, a willingness to wonder, and the time to take an extra moment to look.

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