Where do my ideas come from? Well, for example, I was sitting on my patio swing in the evening, contemplatively drawing on my pipe, watching the world, when a hummingbird streaked by.* It was flying fast and straight, like a laser beam from space, making a beeline right up the laneway. It knew right where it was going and would not be delayed.
At the end of the lane lived a woman who grew the most beautiful flowers. She was a widow who lived alone, but she had a doting son who visited her regularly. He’s the one who got her involved in photography as a way to fill her long, lonely hours. and she took to it enthusiastically.
She set up the camera so it covered whichever flower was blooming most beautifully that day, and programmed it to automatically take shots of whatever flew in to visit it. This day it caught that hummingbird. Taking ten shots per second, it caught the bird in that moment when it was hovering just before plunging in for the nectar. The best of the resulting pictures was brimming with grace and beauty and anticipation.
Her son entered the photo in a contest run by a photography magazine, and it won first prize. She received a lot of good photography equipment and a lifetime subscription to the magazine as her prize, and she was interviewed by the local newspaper. They printed the picture and the headline over it said, “Like a Laser Beam from Space.”
She didn’t much like the headline. She thought it trivialized the picture. She certainly hadn’t given them that quote. But, you see, they interviewed the neighbors and I was one of them. I told them that I had seen the hummingbird streaking by and described it as being like a laser beam from space.
*This is where imagination took over from observation, and that’s where my ideas come from.