Beauty and the creased: It’s for the birds

Slaves to moisture,
bartered to the bone,
soft-shelled and viscous,
like winter crustaceans in heat,
wading to tricky tops of
saturated springs to steam-iron
each other’s creases, they moan.

Beauty can be a mess. A parliament of fear, anger and disgust. A moment that passed too soon. A story that went on for too long. A slow-motion replay of heartbreak. A reinforcement of dissent.

Beauty isn’t always linear. It can be chaotic. Full of mistakes. Noise. Absolute shit.

I find anything that moves me to be immersed in beauty. It doesn’t even have to be poignant. As insensitive as it may sound, some roadside accidents move me more than they depress me. Despite the obvious tragedy, I breathe in, selfishly, the serenity of experiencing something powerful. Even when someone has a great idea, it strikes me as a beautiful moment more than a productive one.

Finding beauty in the physical form of creatures, birds or human beings, is often an experiment in self-catharsis.  Most of the time I end up realizing how superficial I can be.

I have written before about my hypocrisy as a bird lover.  I have lately realized that I delete many of the photographs.  Either the image is blurry or it just isn’t as good as the rest.

You must know that I am not a photographer. I am a bird lover with a camera, not a photographer with a love for birds. There is a big difference. I don’t aspire to buy a better camera. I will only if it takes me closer to them. I don’t want to be able to take better photographs. I am not a kind enough person to constantly help conserve their habitats.

At times I fear that it isn’t even about my feathered friends. I just want to experience the love I feel around them. It is selfish, vain and a tad pretentious. However, I find myself drowning, like a drunk crustacean, in beauty’s still waters.

I am posting a few photographs I hadn’t before. Most were taken in a more primal camera than the one I have now. But they represent moments that I shared with those we seem to love so much.

I hope you feel something too.

Green Bee Eater, Coimbatore

(Photographs: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradhesh)

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19 comments

  1. Lovely article! I, for one, have always believed that a certain amount of selfishness and vanity is essential to the artistic process, considering that art, if defined as self-expression, results from the belief that one’s ideas are important enough for others to spend time on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Adhithya. It is my humble opinion too that selfishness is crucial to the sustenance of the artistic process. In fact at some point, I think it saunters over to the self-loathing zone and soon sits by the crossroads, wondering why it never learnt to play the guitar. Or something like that.

      “…the belief that one’s ideas are important enough for others to spend time on” – Excellently put.

      Like

  2. Beautiful, there is so much emotion in these photos! And to spin on what you wrote, I think you have a great platform here to make the world a bit safer, a little more secure for the birds you adore. (This is stemming from my own long standing desire to conserve forests and plant new ones, which I hope to get started on in a couple of years.)
    There is beauty in that too…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you radhika, I hope to write about the moments behind these photographs soon.

      I do think there are platforms to initiate change, even a blogging engine has steam in it. It’s just that I just can’t trust that our species will do the right thing in suitable proportions. Since I can’t generalise, I internalise this belief of mine.

      There are however individuals who do make a positive difference to the voiceless. I certainly look forward to seeing you do that. I will be there, by the sidelines, applauding (smile).

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The push and pull between hope and despair is a rough one, I agree. And humanity and its actions is enough to drive anyone to hopelessness. Yet I still believe something can be done… Appreciate the support!
        Keep writing, keep taking photos, you sure light up the day for many of us! 🙂

        Like

      2. Keep believing! If the world had only agnostics, it would drown under the smouldering weight of its own indifference. Honestly, I am glad people like you exist and exude hope.

        Thanks again for your kind words (smile)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I identify with that feeling so well.. the beauty of the moment when there is a bird or several birds in your vicinity and you look through the camera and more often forget to look through the camera because you are photograhing it all silently with an inner eye, basking in the feel of that moment. Happens so frequently that I have abandoned coming to any conclusion about my bird watching activities Thank you for those verses and for all the birds you share.. This blog is an extended bit of that heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully-woven. Inner eye, at times – the third eye too. Some of my favourite moments have occurred whenever I would confuse, birds with butterflies and falling leaves.

      Thank you for the humbling compliment, I am very glad that you find niceness here!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know what you mean about the beauty of a roadside accident. I’m also moved and drawn to some truly horrible things, including the tragedy of war. Perhaps my all time favourite movie is the horrifying 1985 Soviet WWII gut twister Come and See. I’m not sure I’d call it beautiful though it does have some early beautiful moments as contrast to it’s otherwise unrelentingly escalating trauma.

    J.G. Ballard had an interesting angle on the appeal of car accidents. David Cronenberg made a 1996 movie of Ballard’s book but Paul Haggis’ 2004 Academy Award winner of the same name also seems to pay tribute to Ballard when one of the characters suggest that in the motorised and atomised society of Los Angeles car accidents are perhaps one of the few sincere forms of direct human interaction still available. His wife tells him he must have a screw loose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I watched Cronenberg Crash’s before I did – Haggis’ syrupy take on racism. The movie is a mad genius. I remember a dialogue in which one tells the other, to loosely paraphrase – “Some people crash into each other just to feel somethings. Anything.

      I haven’t read the book though. Ballard is amazing, I can imagine the intensity in text.

      Thanks for war movie mention, will check it out. Also a good example of it – an indie film called Sick Girl. A gory slasher with such beauty in it.

      Like

  5. Thank you C for sharing beautiful photographs of birds. It’s worth drowning in the beauty of waters close to where birds live, breed, forage. These immense water bodies must contain all their stories, secrets and mysteries. No?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your words pushed me to confront the fact that since losing my sight, I haven’t thought or considered “beauty.” Perhaps this is because when I could see, “beauty” was mostly a visual experience. Yes, I spent months depressed, in part because I felt I’d lost the ability to connect with whatever “beauty” was.

    It has been several years and, although I don’t pretend I feel joyous about life, I do feel content. To my surprise, I was at a birthday party last night, a gathering of friends, intimate, relaxed, fine food and good wine, thoughts and feelings flowing freely. I had the sudden realization that I was in the midst of a beautiful moment in life, a simple but immense Oneness. I was blessed with a new realization of “beauty.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tio, I had to read this comment several times to fully understand just how awe-inspiring your perspective is. Your life is one that demands to be seen through the heart. I insist that you write more about this beautiful gift of oneness. You sir have explained better than I have ever read about it anywhere.

      You continue to inspire me so much. Not just to write and bird, but to live more passionately.

      Thank you Tio for everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading Tio’s comment above, I agree that your ‘beauty’ is not felt through the eyes and brain but with the heart. It’s why your poems are so rich with color, though red in black and white.

    Birds deserve the acquaintance of a poet, not a photographer. Beauty is only feather deep.

    PS you are quite he able photographer! I love these old shots, especially the opener. WOW. Glad to have my vision intact.

    Liked by 1 person

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