Long-legged Tchaikovskys

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insufferable delicacy

infused into the bend

of knee, turn of head:

a water-borne ballet,

beat kept by still water,

reflecting this moment

then, now, forevermore.

This will – finally – be the last of the birds from my trip to the Llobregat Delta in Spain, almost eight months on. (What can I say. I procrastinate.) And it’s the bird I treasured most from my trip there – one that, to me, embodies everything there is to love about shorebirds: the black-winged stilt. When I saw it, just below the hide, I may have squealed a little.

Part of it is the number of times the name has casually been dropped when reading birding blogs, and till Llobregat, I have had to contend with the knowledge that I have never seen it; another part of it is – well, it. Come on. There is nothing to hate about such a paragon of utter loveliness. Observe its thin, pencil-like beak, beautiful in its ergonomicity; the perfect roundness of its head; the ridiculously and delightfully disproportionate legs that offer its name to us very easily. (Unlike *cough cough* some birds.)

Sometimes I wonder how such birds can exist without the world imploding twice-over.

The Light Rising

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i call this –

a salt-stained, Midas-rimmed

kiss. it fingers the horizon,

caresses the waves. disappears

with nothing but a facsimile

of hope in its ash-ringed

wake.

*waves nervously* I’m back!

I was away the past week, travelling, mostly: not many birds to show for it, or photographs – still, enjoyable (though a trip sans those two seems hard to believe).

This is a photograph I took only three weeks back. Not in Singapore, unfortunately; if one found the space for the sea to begin with, obtaining a sun not dulled by the haze would be quite an achievement. It’s in the Maldives, where I was reminded why I love the ocean. There were no dolphins, still more unfortunately, but fish aplenty, in colors scarcely imaginable; sharks swam by our villa with insouciance. (The underwater nature of it all made my camera regrettably redundant.)

The sea is – is so many things to me. It is a starter, for once; it is an other-world, a place to breathe, a place to be – and when highlighted gold by what you understand more clearly than ever to be a ball of flaming gas, why then, it is best of all.

For the Sound of Sunset

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and so the light rises,

over bone-still hills;

a river fills vast silences

with the thin whistling

of time and time again,

the susurrating trees

becoming their own

somnolent witnesses.

About a month and a half ago, because I suck at updating, we went for a hike in the Himalayas.

It was – amazing, as one might expect. The mountains, the trees, the rivers, the sky, the everything. It’s so quiet there – just the sound of the water and the wind. For miles and miles there is not a single living soul. Just you, and your breathing.

This is an introductory photograph, if anything. I played with it quite a bit in Photoshop – just to see where I could take it.

More stories, poems, and photographs will be forthcoming over the next few months. 🙂

Coup d’Oeil

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Car-window glimpses –

hints at something beyond

the fingerprinted glass

and constant humming

of movement and silence

in their endless dance,

because you love like this –

bittersweet heart-in-mouth.

You cannot do anything else;

no space forms for anything else

in disappearing tarmac behind

and knowledge of the gap between

possibility and reality.

In the Spanish, or possible French Pyrenees, this house up on a hill, the snow-capped mountains behind, presented an unimaginably picturesque site. It looked as if a postcard had been pasted over the car window.

You get the most peculiar sense of deja-vu sometimes when you’re travelling, especially when driving and there isn’t time to examine the feeling further – perhaps it’s a result of our constant exposure to information, so we see much more, but I’d like to think it’s just a connection to a landscape, to a place – like it’s ok to leave your heart there, half-way across the world.

These are the Sky-Peaks

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here you find the

hovering fragilities,

a toppling consciousness of

breaking, of enduring

in shards of light and

twisted feathers, and

yesterday’s snowflakes

still half-sodden on the

ground – another dream

to melt for the future.

I happened upon this kestrel while hiking in the Pyrenees – or, at least, what is probably or most likely just possibly a kestrel; birds are hard to ID when they are a) far away and b) also you really don’t what anything is there? At all? It might also be a falcon (as in peregrine), which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.

We saw two of them – one excruciatingly close, but unfortunately by the time camera was extracted, lens attached, hot chocolate drunk, etc., it became a very familiar story. So instead I watched it from afar as it watched the mountains – so small amongst the sky and so large as well, in its self-assured confidence.

And then, like so many other birds, I looked down, looked back up, and it was gone – sans wing-beat, sans form, sans movement, sans everything.

And So The River Rushes

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and so the river rushes

and so the dark descends

and so each breathless

eternity is hummed into

the next. one by one by

tumbling one.

and so the moments

f a l l.

This image is really one from the archives, dating back all the way to last October’s trip to Kullu, in Himachal Pradesh – the result of experimentation with long exposures, makeshift tripods composed of stray pebbles, and cameras dangerously close to the fast, fast river. Timing, too, was an issue – it had to be when it was getting dark, because neural density filters are a bit of a dream, but not too dark. Still, I’m happy with the result, as first attempts go.

Please note that for the next week-ish I will be travelling, again, hopefully to return with lots of lovely stories to share.

Some Little Miracles

GrebeChick_ProcessedLogomy dear, you are a

tiny Tintoretto, a gangly

watermelon-striped

ball of feathers and hope

that against waves of

crushing odds

has managed to keep its

head above water.