“Grebe Expectations,” a lesser known book of birds by Charles Dickens. (No, Richard, be serious!) “Grebe Expectations” is what I got when I photographed this Grebe at Pagham reserve. I packed my lens and headed for home, eager to see the bird immortalised.
“Big Disappointments” was the sequel. The grebe was too small, and my focus was not sharp. Yet I had a strange reluctance to bin it- the memory of sharing a few priceless minutes observing its world, trying to guess where it would surface after each dive… I was invested in Gregory Grebe’s existence.
So I played with the technology.. and the picture took a texture, a form that suggested Grebes without claiming to own one. A brushstroke filter added a touch of artistry. Then the poet’s muse dived in the lake…
More odious than ode, words took their place as I tried to capture a visual moment in solid prose, or poetry of a kind.
What is its worth as a photo, a poem, a thing? To me it is real, the securing of a past moment that touched my soul. No-one else may share my pride of creation: a daubing with doggerel, a whimsy whispering in the evening light.
There is, however, a parable in this Grebe. A man went out to seek beauty, and finding a grebe fishing, prepared his camera for a trophy. Attainment did not equal inspiration, and a failure was clear to see. “Not good enough!” cried the critics. Shamed and blamed, the photographer told himself what he should have done.
But the colours enticed, and the grebe WAS there. So the creative urge did a surge, the program offered a new possibility, and a poem was born on a failed canvas.
Then the Great Artist looked and smiled, for His child had pinned a clumsy picture on the fridge door of Heaven, and smiled with tremulous eyes at his Father’s face. “It’s for You, Dad. I’m sorry it isn’t as good as I hoped…”
Smiles beamed from the Throne Room. “That’s fine, my boy- I made that Grebe for you, to fill your mind and soul with the wonder of Creation. And I love your picture, because you created it for Me.”
God of the second chance… Lord of the gracious heart. Father of the child who fails, and tries, and loves as best he can.
Truly, “Grebe Expectations” has given me a prayer of thankfulness tonight. May you see the beauty, the wonder in this world, and offer what you see to the Father who loves us.
Disappointments can be gateways to renewed joy! Nice one, Gregory Grebe.