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  • EDi by Darlene

The Traveler

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Have you ever experienced the feeling of being watched, when you think you are alone? Intuitively, some of us just know whether we are alone or not. What if we are being observed by another life form, yet you are simply doubting your senses?

Visioning experts claim that actively imagining something prepares the mind for that reality. I think the same is true when you sit still or possibly daydream, unknowingly acknowledging your connection to a higher source. As a spiritual seeker, I constantly ponder the source of life and ask many questions for which there are few answers. I recognize this is an “old” question, but certainly a dialogue worth continued discussion. Are we willing to pay attention to life and allow the universe to open its doors and guide us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, encourage our ability to exist beyond our physical and mental limitations?

Anything we do not understand about human existence and life is explained in biblical or scientific text. Theologians have long held exclusive province over the nature and destiny of our lives, holding that humanity’s existence is based on God’s actions toward us on Earth.

Comparably, scientist move in the direction of gathering facts based on human intelligence, suggesting there are technical civilizations in “our” galaxy and seeking ways to communicate with an unknown entity that we hope is “intelligent.” How arrogant are we to postulate any other life form is unintelligent. I’m sure those entities may think likewise about us humans. If any conversation were to occur with an interstellar extraterrestrial, I’m certain it would be a very, very slow conversation. Partly because of our own sense of fear of the unknown. I’ve seen a few scientific movies about alien invasions that demonstrate how we suffer our thoughts. From science, we know how to use atoms, break them, fuse them, and how to make them explode; yet we do not know what an atom is? If I were an interstellar extraterrestrial, I would be cautious about communications because of our obsession to prepare for fear, rather than peace. There are aspects beyond our physical and mental limitations that could aid our ability to exist peacefully. Hence, the story behind the image titled “Traveler.”

I took a friend fishing in Solomon, Maryland. He wanted to catch Rockfish and I wanted to photograph wildlife and the landscape. On this warm morning in August, the sun was obscured by an interesting grey cloud cover. As we strolled down the pier, the ebb and flow of water in the Chesapeake Bay softly touched the shore. I saw a few long-legged herons doing their ritual of wading along the shore, but not looking outward but skyward. Other birds randomly took singular flight. One would glide across the sky and land before another took flight. None were flocking nor giving a hint of locations for successful crabbing and fishing in the Bay.

Visually, the day was rather dull looking, but pleasant. I found myself looking skyward along with the long-legged herons. The sun was a shadow, blocked by the overcast. I took a photo of a bird in flight, gliding across the sky. My attention diverted from the sky as I began to think about post processing low light images. Still going on impulse or inspiration, both of which have no forethought, my attention returned to the sky. I began to capture another singular bird in flight. Now I’m thinking “where are the other birds” and “how is this flat image going to turn out.” I again noticed the long-legged herons wading and still looking skyward. I looked skyward, another bird took flight against the gloomy grey sky, And, then, the cloud formation shifted providing a strange break in formation. An unknown shift in the clouds, an unidentifiable presence, and then an audible hush.

Placing my initial reaction aside, I captured a third bird in flight and then packed my equipment. I was anxious to return home to process the days’ images. I had some odd compulsion to shoot a dismal sky, and I wanted to see those images. As expected, the images displayed subtle shadows and highlights in the sky. Yet, after a few adjustments, each image took a dramatic change. A manifest presence emerged, rooted in harmony, peaceful, as it revealed itself and observed in silence. Now I’m thinking, let’s get a glass of Cab-Sav, relax, and assess what is happening within the image.

I do not know what this image exposes. I will say that daydreaming has gotten a bad rap as a timewaster. Remaining human centric underscores our ignorance to develop abilities beyond the physical and mental limitations. Our ability to detect planetary systems and stars is helpful if we’re interested in the physical consequences of a source, but not the source itself. So, when the sky is overcast, or the clouds or fog seem to encapsulate the earth, ponder a few of these questions. If, by chance, you are compelled to bring your attention to another direction, just listen within. I believe therein lies the answers for each of us to discover. Ask yourself if we truly are the caretakers of this planet, and if our human-centricity will redeem us.

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