It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. A writer must create pictures in the minds of readers, so exacting word choice is vital. For a long time, I have kept these words taped to my desk space. I do not know who wrote them, but they’re great:
The written word is clean as bone,
Clear as light,
Firm as stone.
Two words are not
As good as one.
Some early mornings, I walk a garden path to find my word-pictures. My cameras go with me, and the surprises found out there often give me the words and the illustrations.
I look high into the wax myrtle and meet the gaze of an eye on me. She wants me to move along, but I return when she flies to the courtyard for a sip from the fountain.
The pine straw shifts slightly in the flowerbed, and a familiar shape is lapping rainwater in a brick crevice. He has a rival in one of the many garden turf wars. I am usually the loser in the assault on leaves and blossoms, whether we meet face-to-face, or I catch a mere glimpse of the offender.
The copper and brown of the wood thrush melds with the woodland floor or leafy undergrowth where he forages. He zooms out to scritch, scratch with with one foot and then the other, like a comical chicken, and turns over leaf after leaf to find insects. Then he races back under the shrubbery to hide. Perched on a limb, he looks a lot like the bark.
Here’s a fledgling wood thrush, but he’ll watch Mom and Dad and learn quickly.
Wolf snails are cannibalistic and devour other snails, and even each other. They move much faster than other snails, and it’s not hard to imagine that they could terrify their prey with those “horned” heads.
A hummingbird snugs down over her two white pearl-sized eggs in the hanging cradle she has woven around a plant stem.
This walking stick and her offspring have found a perfect hiding place in a woven basket beside my back door. Their camouflage can get them into trouble if I don’t see them before I drop yard shoes into the basket. They are there often, so I look out for them now.
Back inside, I’m ready to write, but my garden friends have a little more to say before they leave me. I can’t resist a few more shots of them from my side of the windows.
It’s wild kingdom where I live, and I’ll return with more photo stories about my adventures. I agree with Thoreau that I can never learn everything in just my own square mile!