Damsels in distress – a day on the river – and life’s incessant teachings

I spent the day on a rubber boat on a river – it was lovely, the riverbanks untouched forest, no roads within earshot, a single silent commercial tourist boat, and families, couples and friends with friends softly being swept down the river on a gentle current to the restaurant at the end of the pier where monstrous club sandwiches, a weird combination of grilled chicken and fried eggs, awaited.  The air was abuzz with creatures. Butterflies, damselflies and dragon flies cavorted on the river banks, swooping gracefully on diaphanous wings against a backdrop of bamboo, branches trailing in the water and steep, stony, ocher river banks. Dancing in intricate formations and seeming to bear testimony to a divine choreographer, the effect so magical, the creatures so delicate, that I spent a lot of time treading mud,  sludge and water, hoping to capture even a glimpse of the essence of the experience.  But damselflies move fast, the river stands still for no man,  and small cameras were not designed for this kind of thing. Undeterred I was trying hard when the  display died…. and in the absence of a viewfinder I was exposed to the true meaning of point and shoot. At first I felt cheated but then I realized that those precious visual moments are captured  in my mind, interwoven with the sunshine, the sound of the waves, the scent of the river,  the mud, and the stones, the birdsong, the sound of tiny motorboats passing by and the rocking of the rubber boat as it rides the waves of larger craft. A unique tapestry woven by my senses. Life’s loveliest moments pass by so fast that I suspect the  greatest gift  we could give ourselves is to experience them with all our senses and without worrying about documentation.DamselflyDamsel-fly photographed blind using an soggy underwater camera with no viewfinder and malunctioning display.


One thought on “Damsels in distress – a day on the river – and life’s incessant teachings

  1. A lovely report with the best of all insights. Many people, among them some (sensitive) Japanese, who are as tourists notorious for their incessant picture taking, have come to the same conclusion. “Pluck the moment, pluck the day”. You won’t have time to look at pictures, as life moves forward and holds its own beauty. M

    Here is a lovely poem of Hermann Hesse, so leicht, so lyrisch! Passt zu obigem Bild einer lieblichen Damsel-fly-

    Flügelt ein kleiner blauer
    Falter vom Wind geweht.
    Ein perlmutterner Schauer,
    Glitzert, flimmert. vergeht.

    So mit Augenblicksblinken,
    So im Vorüberwehn
    Sah ich das Glück mir winken,
    Glitzern, flimmern, vergehn.

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