It was early on in the pandemic when, not long after the phrase, “two weeks to flatten the curve,” became a thing. My son’s scout troop had previously scheduled a bike ride and, being an outdoor activity, they pushed ahead. While they rode, I relaxed in the car, enjoying the shade provided by a nearby tree. Listening to a podcast, I kicked back and waited. It was a nice, quiet moment, made more interesting by what I now think of as the Baltimore Blessing.
Lock Down State of Mind
Looking back, I now realize I was beginning to enter a “lock down” state of mind. Little did I know that, nearly two years after I snapped this photograph, we would still be working to find our way back to normal. Even now, I am battling the feeling that I am locked down, prevented from enjoying those things I used to do. My pastimes have become very individual things, occasionally shared with online communities.
In the midst of adopting this mode of thinking, the Baltimore Blessing happened. A flash of color zipped across my peripheral vision. Too bright and bold for even the most charismatic robin, I couldn’t make out what had perched in the sweetgum tree. Not until, that is, the beautiful bird landed on the mirror of the car next to me.
A Friendly Visit
I have lived in Oklahoma my entire life, but the only Baltimore Orioles I remember seeing in person were on baseball cards. This was certainly not a Ripken just outside of arm’s reach. I hesitated to pull out my camera, fearing that any significant movement would spook the bird. Carefully, I give it a chance and manage to turn my wildlife lens towards the oriole. Taken through the slight tint of a dirty window, this is the single best photograph of this particular species I will likely ever take. Well, certainly the best shot I will ever get from the front seat of my car!
So, what is the meaning of this Baltimore Blessing, then? I take a few things away from it. First, it is a brilliant reminder that the best camera is the one you have with you. Second, taking a deep breath and relaxing will sometimes open your eyes to something pleasant in the midst of chaos. Third, always keep one eye open to the possibilities.