April 10, 2023
One of the many joys of a picture walk is never knowing what I’ll find or who I’ll meet along the way. Yesterday, I met a dog named Norman. It brought a smile to my face. Why would anyone name a dog, Norman, I wondered? It seemed like a very formal moniker for such a small, scruffy little beast. So, I posed the question to the human attached to the other end of the leash, “Why Norman?”
“Well,” she said, “I named him after my dad who recently passed away.”
That was even funnier, I thought, to name a dog after your dead parent, but I kept my chuckle to myself. Instead, I shared the fact that my own father was also deceased and was also named Norman! For the life of me, though, I couldn’t even imagine naming a dog after my dead parent! It just didn’t seem right–and it conjured up an unappealing visual in my head of walking my dad on a leash and cleaning up all his messes!
Earlier in the day, long before I met up with Norman, I had been walking along the creek behind our house hoping to find a wood duck in the early morning light. I expected one to swim out from the cattails along the bank, but it splashed down suddenly in the water next to me and jolted me out of my quiet reverie! Later, I was pleasantly surprised to find a female northern shoveler and a male blue-winged teal swimming in close proximity to the newly-arrived wood duck. What a great find! Both the shoveler and the teal are rare visitors to our creek!
Once the early morning light started to change, and no longer had that soft golden glow, I wandered through the woods adjacent to the creek and headed over to a nearby preserve where I hoped to find a loon. I had never seen a loon here in Michigan, but knew that one had recently been spotted on the lake at the preserve and hoped I’d get a picture!
It took me awhile to find the loon. It’s not a very colorful bird, and it does have a habit of swimming rather low in the water. Even on a relatively small body of water, like the one I was visiting, loons can be difficult to spot.
While I had my camera focused on the loon, something in my peripheral vision distracted me. It was an Osprey flying towards me on the left with a good-sized fish in its talons!! I turned to take its picture and didn’t have time to change the settings on my camera. I just started shooting as fast as I could and hoping for the best! In photography, this method of shooting is often called ‘spray and pray!’ Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s always worth a try.
As I continued walking around the lake, I was delighted to find two great blue herons in relatively close proximity to one other! I’ve never seen two blue herons at the same time except at a rookery. A short time later, I spotted a third!
One of the birds that never takes me by surprise is the Canada goose! It’s absolutely everywhere, but quite easy to overlook as a desirable photography subject. Even the most mundane of subjects, like the Canada goose, though, can make for a beautiful photograph given the right circumstances and a little bit of ingenuity. If nothing else, Canada geese are great subjects for practicing one’s photography skills; they’re not hard to find, they’re easier to photograph than smaller, flightier birds, and they really are stunning in their own right.
On this particularly warm spring day, I also saw swans, turtles, grackles, and one very busy muskrat chewing away on something tasty; totally oblivious to my presence. Up in the trees surrounding the lake, there was a musical assortment of robins, chickadees, bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, golden-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers, and one little brown creeper scurrying up a tree.
I always head out on these picture walks wondering what kinds of surprises I’ll find or who I’ll meet along the way. Yesterday, my best surprise was the osprey with the fish, but the funniest surprise was the dog named Norman, and the story of his name. I’m still smiling!
3 thoughts on “A Dog Named Norman”
Your picture walk popped-up on my laptop as I was checking emails…love the close-ups of the male Mallard and the Canada Goose! As for Norman, well, why not?? I named my car after my dead grandmother, Annie. Had never named a car before until “Annie” saved me from a catastrophic winter accident 2 years ago…we both survived without a scratch!! Maybe I’ll name my next pet Charlie. My departed dad would love that!! LOL
Your pictures and stories always bring out a smile in me…and also lots of memories! Thanks dear friend.
A very enjoyable story, Jeanne. What a strange coincidence on the naming of the dog, Norman and that your own dad’s name also was Norman. It seems meant to be and brought you some good thoughts about your dad, no doubt. I, too miss my dad and actually have never thought to name anything Donald! People remember their loved ones in differing ways and it’s all good, regardless. I think it wonderful that the experience brought your dad to mind. I love your beautiful photographs. They are inspiring and give me hope for our future. Journey well, my friend.
I’m always amazed at how many beautiful pictures and creatures you capture in one outing!!