The Miracle of Letting Go

I haven’t been feeling very well the last several days. The biggest bummer is that I’m having a lot of trouble sleeping. My fatigue just seems to make everything I try to accomplish so much harder. Like swimming in molasses. To compound the problem, my mood has been pretty contrary as well. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to this… but there are certain things that never fail to improve my state-of-mind, yet sometimes I stupidly avoid doing them. I’m really not sure why… I suppose it’s the adult equivalent of having a bit of a tantrum. Things aren’t going my way, so I temporarily just stubbornly refuse to let anyone or anything make it better. So, anyway, I’ve been struggling with this and when it came time to do my blog post today, I just didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t coming up with any good ideas and the whole process was starting to feel really excruciating. Finally, I decided to give in. I did the one thing that never fails to clear my head and put things in perspective. I put on my shoes and went outside, determined that I would just do what I always do — look for something beautiful or extraordinary and photograph it. Then, when I came back home, I would simply post whatever I found and not think too much more about it.

I couldn’t have walked more than about 5 minutes from my house when I stopped to listen to the birds, absorbing the sounds that I love so well. California Quail whooping and popping in the bushes. Phainopepla doing a perfect impersonation of water slowly dripping from a faucet. The happy twittering of a small flock of Bushtit trickling through the underbrush. Something caught my eye in the tangle of young olive trees ahead and I instinctively lifted my camera. I had just enough time to process the shape of an immature Cooper’s Hawk, looking a bit startled at being discovered. I wasn’t even sure if I had the bird framed in the viewfinder, but I knew it was “now or never” and I pressed the shutter just before the hawk sailed over my head. I took only one shot and this was it:


Cooper's Hawk immature in-flight**Be sure to click on all of the images for detail shots!**


I relaxed, knowing that I had at least one wonderful image to share when I got home. I eased into the feeling of just being outdoors. I took a deep breath and felt more and more of my funky mood slipping away. I spied a Mourning Dove perched high in the spindly branches at the top of a eucalyptus. The bird and branch swayed side-to-side in the strong canyon breeze. The trunk creaked like an old boat in the wind, and the mass of leaves below the bird quivered and rippled like big green waves. I decided to test if lightning would strike twice and I framed the bird in the lens and waited patiently to see if I could catch a flight image. The dove stayed stoically still, eyeballing me and cocking its head, but not budging. Then, I saw a flicker of movement and reflexively pressed the shutter. Miraculously, I captured this wonderful hummer who zipped in for a split second to investigate the dove and then was gone!


Mourning Dove & hummer


A smile couldn’t help but spread across my face and I grinned foolishly up at the dove. Let’s try this one more time, I said. The dove made me wait awhile before finally flapping noisily over to another branch a few feet away — but I got the shot! Not only that, but I got a second one when it finally had enough of me and flew off that perch as well.


Mourning Dove in-flight

Mourning Dove in-flight


I’m still exhausted (more now than before I went out) and I’m yawning as I write this. But, I’m feeling peaceful and content inside. Tantrum over. Lesson learned. When nothing seems to be working and everything feels harder than it should — go outside, let go, and enjoy what comes!

Harsi / May 31, 2011 / birds


  1. ro - May 31, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    OMYGOSH! Those are SUCH lovely shots! The Coop!!!! The light on the dopey dove 🙂 accented by the hummingbird geesh! You went out at the perfect time I’d say. I hope you get some sleep, I sometimes have problems sleeping too it’s the worst.

  2. Harsi - May 31, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

    Thanks for all the sweet comments, Ro! 🙂 I think I went out at just the perfect time too. Though nothing quite so spectacular, tomorrow I’ll have a few more subtly lovely moments to share from this walk. While I appreciate the empathy, I’m sorry to hear that you have difficulties with sleep too at times. You said it, it REALLY is the worst! Keep your fingers crossed for me tonight…

  3. Lisa - June 1, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    HARSI! These photos are *A*M*A*Z*I*N*G*!! My god….they are SO wonderful. I wrote you this a.m. and I see my words are not here, so I am trying again. Your timing with your camera was incredible. I know it must seem like a real chore sometimes to blog, but it is MUCH appreciated :). Thank you very much for sharing these. I hope that you are feeling at least a little…..hopefully a lot better by the time you read this. I have been following your blog daily, but have not had the luxury of writing in! xoxo P.S. And yes, I can relate to knowing what things to do to change my mood sometimes, and yet not doing those things. I’m not sure why that is {sigh}.

  4. Harsi - June 1, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    Sweet Lisa… my sincere apologies! I did see your comment when I woke-up first thing this morning, but I got very distracted by several things and totally forgot to publish it and respond to you!! Oh, my… this lack of sleep is making me a bit spacy I’m afraid. (I know you forgive me, but I’m sorry nonetheless.) As I said in this post, my mood has definitely taken a turn for the better… but, sadly, my sleep continues to be a mess. I am trying to just have faith that it will get better soon, and not make things harder on myself by feeling down or anxious about it. It is what it is… you know? And as far as the blog being a “chore”… well, it’s not. It’s difficult a lot of the time and it is hard to get started, but I’m always glad I did it once I finish. Ha! It’s a lot like exercise in that way, I guess. 🙂 Plus, the fact that I have these great friends (like you) to share with means the world to me and I LOVE being able to post something wonderful from my day. Especially because we can’t all hang out in-person on a day-to-day basis. (Though, someday, I certainly hope we will get to visit, dear friend.) XOXOX

  5. Harsi - June 1, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    OH, and I loved hearing about the pair of black bears that are being sighted in your neighborhood (from the comment you left earlier that didn’t get posted)!! You will be sure to let me know if you get the thrill of seeing them for yourself, yes??

  6. John Pearson - June 1, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Hi Harsi, I am glad I found your blog but sorry to hear of your recent fatigue. You sure write cheery and inspirational pieces nonetheless! Get well! -John

  7. Harsi - June 1, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    John!!! So happy to see you here! I hope you will pop in from time to time and I would love to hear any words of wisdom you have regarding my often tentative plant IDs. 🙂 You are very sweet to wish me well and I too hope that my sleep starts to improve. Nevertheless, nature is always wonderful medicine for anything that ails you. I’m sure you’d agree!


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