The Surprise Present

 

It was some of the conversations we had that made it seem like a good idea. Seeing me absorbed by the new toy, pleased and grinning from ear to ear, Santa noted that apparently “it pays to listen”.

I made the “not terribly naughty” list last year (who would have thought, right?) and Santa decided it was time I got an entry-level DLSR camera as a reward. I’ve considered investing in one myself, but never long enough to even figure out what I should know in order to make such a choice. I like taking photos, but I’m not the most patient person in the world. So on one hand I was really tempted to get one; on the other hand, each time I got to play with a DSLR camera, I’d postpone it, being put off by their size and the learning process they required.However, last year I felt tempted more often than ever…

I do remember one particular conversation we had. Santa and I were taking a one-day trip for my birthday and driving through a village, I mentioned how at some point I’d like to photograph some of the old, traditional, decrepit houses in rural areas before they disappear altogether. I ignored the raised eyebrow – so what if I’d probably never do that, I still felt it was an interesting idea. In retrospect, that raised eyebrow might have meant something completely different…

The present may have been unexpected, but what surprised me more was my reaction to it. Learning about it proved to be a lot more interesting than I expected; I’ve devoured quite a few tutorials and articles, often losing track of time. But figuring out how to make “the beast” behave (more or less) is terribly fun and satisfying. Then there was the other aspect – it was only entry-level, Santa said apologetically, still not sure the gift choice was a good one. But in truth, I would have chosen the same, considering I couldn’t really tell for how long I’d be interested by that sort of toy. So what’s the point in wasting money on something that in a few weeks might end on a shelf, collecting dust? I couldn’t care less that there are much more sophisticated and expensive models out there (sigh of relief, I’m not becoming my mother!).

An unexpected side-effect of the new camera was that it got me out of the house on a few occasions when I would have normally stayed in. I also caught myself thinking of places nearby where I could go and try out what I’ve learnt. I’m generally rather strict with myself, so doing something just for fun, even if I don’t do it well, doesn’t always come easy to me. Let’s just say that some of my photographic attempts yielded some hilarious results, but instead of becoming frustrated, I just laughed. What’s the point of having a hobby if it’s just one more thing to stress me out? Besides, I’m realistic about my limitations. I’m generally quite capable when it comes to learning new things, but there’s a sort of patience I’ll never possess; so I know I will never be very good at this. And it doesn’t matter. I plan to have fun. Being able to state this with no effort is also a bit unexpected, considering where I was not that many years ago, as far as perfectionism is concerned.

Speaking of unexpected realizations… We’re busy thinking of and dealing with so many things at once, that we sometimes don’t even realize that we function on autopilot. I had just taken my new camera for a walk on the beach, after which I got back in my car, heading to a certain spot nearby to catch the sunset. I’ve been there many times, just to empty my head while staring at the sun sinking into the horizon. Only this time…. I’m about to turn and there’s nowhere to turn to. My quiet sunset spot is gone. The funny part is, I actually knew this, I noticed the monstrosity being built there several times and bitterly bitched about it. But somehow I failed to put together those pieces of information. Other things were on my mind and force of habit was taking me to the place I was so used to… By the time I found a new spot (why do we need to build hectically, everywhere?), the sun was half gone. I came back another day, but the view was better from that other place, not to mention that it was much colder. Oh well… like I said, we act and react on so many levels at once, and sometimes that autopilot is exactly what keeps us together; but we don’t always need it (or want it) switched on.

There you have it, an unexpected present and a small, yet unexpected new perspective on the present, on the here and now. Thank you for inspiring me to share this, Ann-Christine (Lens-Artists Weekly Challenge – Unexpected). The orchid is for you, I have several of them as well, and this one was the first to bloom this year.

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10 Replies to “The Surprise Present”

    1. A fresh perspective is always interesting. I tend to take the “tourist in my own town” approach whenever someone from out of town is visiting and it’s usually fun. As for the present, I am doing my best to enjoy it (in both senses of the word). 🙂

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  1. I am glad to be of some inspiration – and I gratefully accept the beautiful orchid! – I guess you know I love orchids. Your story of the surprise present is both funny and interesting. What Santa knows…and the funny thing is that you really enjoy it and even learned a lot from it. We keep growing, don’t we! Cheers to the unexpected and how we learn from it!

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