Walking Past a Poem

August 14, 2013

When I started taking macro pictures of "bugs and flowers" around my home this past Spring, I could hardly believe what I found.


As I walked around my Los Angeles neighborhood snapping pix with my iPhone equipped with an inexpensive Olloclip macro lens, I found that seemingly unremarkable flowering plants harbor a menagerie of critters, each going about their purpose, hunting, hiding, dining, making a home, tending their young, defending themselves.  An ivy along a fence revealed itself an entire eco-system, a miniature planet unto itself.  Even the bloom of an ordinary weed revealed a stunning artistry of color, symmetry and purpose.  


Flowering plants are so alluring, not just for their intricate beauty but because each bloom is an elaborate deception cloaked in a work of art.  Each flower aims to enlist the help of insects in its prime directive: To propagate.  It does this with the lure of color, smell and especially free food.  Who could refuse a proposition like that?  Flowers are living art designed though millions of years of trial and error to entice the perfect bio-robots that are the insects to keep the evolutionary ball rolling along.  Incredible!


Anything with an exoskeleton just blows my mind.  When I photograph insects in macro, I feel like I've have stepped out of some sort of sci-fi shrink-pod.  As I look up at the titanic creatures looming over me through my lens, I am reminded of the 50's sci-fi "The Incredible Shrinking Man," or the movie "Them."  My love of those kinds of movies since I was a kid is why I always try to get a good low-angle on bugs looking up at them, not down from a "god's eye view."  I like the idea of giant bugs.


So, this hobby has somehow found me in the middle of my life, a time of readjusting one’s life lens. I am so grateful.  If I but take a moment to look closer, I am rewarded with encouraging insight, a realization, that we are surrounded and sustained by a hidden world that is teeming with an intoxicating, living poetry, intricate in its design yet immediate in the pleasure it yields to the senses as well as the mind.


I've come to appreciate that everyday we walk past a poem.