5 months ago
Sunday, August 16, 2009
It has been a life long dream of mine to see and to interact with puffins. When I was in high school, I had lofty dreams of photographing them out on the far most rocky posts off the coast of Maine where I had heard about a foundling colony of them. I imagined myself sitting as an observer, writing about and documenting my discoveries of their behavior. Of course, I had yet to even lay eyes on my first one.
Then Life happened - and my dreams got buried under layers of mundanity. But those dreams didn't die; they were just laying dormant, waiting for a drop of magic to bring them back to life.
Iceland provided the magic. Truly, it might have been a disaster, because just as we had arrived near Látrabjarg, Vestrjörðum (the furthest western point of Iceland in the West Fjords) my camera needed a new battery pack. I was insane with frustration (just ask G, he will tell you as he rolls his eyes). When we arrived, and without prior knowledge that there would be something special to see there, I saw the little puffins on the extreme edge of the cliff. I couldn't jump out of the car fast enough as I struggled to see them - see and experience them with my own two eyes up close.
Noticing my anguish at being without my camera intermixed with my speechless awe at seeing the little birds so close, my Bear handed over his own camera with which I shot my first shots of my beloved puffins. My eyes were filled with tears of emotion as I watched them hop clumsily over the tufts of grass at the cliff's steep edge, and I could scarcely breathe for fear they would fly away. They were almost childlike in their actions with no fear at all - curiously coming right up to within a foot of where I crouched. I was nearly oblivious of the sheer drop to the crashing waves on the sharp rocks far below, where a sudden gust of wind could easily blow me right over. Instead I was marveling at how small and petite their orange feet were - and how compactly their wings folded close to their bodies after flapping them for a stretch.
Their eyes looked directly into mine - and I felt simply incredible.