Male Cardinal

Here is a photo for you. This is the male cardinal who graces our yard. He was born in the big lilac bush under our master bedroom window, and every morning while he was a wee baby in the nest, my husband bid him a hearty Good Morning! You can hear him singing on our property almost any hour of the day. He and my husband are best buds; the bird even seems to follow him around the yard.

I must tell you, though: this is not the picture I was hoping to post here. For on this gorgeous, sunny, almost summer-like day, I took lots of pictures and my husband and I had some adventures. I took some truly amazing shots of the Arboretum, and of the Lower Trail. And then I lost them ALL.

The day started like this. We went to town and ran errands. We got the $20 bucket of fried chicken at KFC and ate a fair amount of it in our car in the parking lot, practically cooing with happiness, for this is a treat we hardly EVER get.

On the way home, my husband said, "Do you want to stop at the Arboretum for five minutes?" And I told him if we could make it 10, we'd have a deal. I'd been coveting the photos that I'd seen on Facebook - the tulips in the children's garden are approaching peak, and I've been MISSING IT!

And so he dumped me off at the Arboretum and parked in a lot across the road, for things were growing crowded already at 11:15 or so in the morning. It WAS indeed peak bloom time and I got many amazing photos of the glorious tulips that looked a lot like this one. I ended up spending 15 minutes, not the 5 we talked about. But I left with a happy glow in my heart and a great big smile on my face: I'd FINALLY gotten there, and I had great shots to show for it! Oh, such glee!

Then we came home and ate some more fried chicken (hooray for second lunchies!) and fed the cat, and then we changed cars and headed down to the Lower Trail, near Water Street. We'd talked about going there last weekend but didn't make it. So we finally ended up there and IT was also packed! There were tons of cars in the parking lot and more people on the trail - mostly on bicycles - than I've ever seen in my entire life!!!!

But we walked down a ways, to the place where there is a little pond to the left of the trail along the river, the place where I nearly fell in last spring, the place where the turtles bask and play. I saw and photographed the tiniest, cutest turtle on a log. And I spotted at least FOUR snapping turtles, who almost seemed to be doing some sort of underwater ballet!

I went to take one more photo, but it wouldn't do it. I looked down in puzzlement at my camera, and there was a message on it - Memory Card Locked. So I pulled the memory card out, and messed with that little tab that locks and unlocks the card. Put it back in. It gave me both the Memory Card Locked message and a new message: Memory Card Error.

I took the card in and out a few more times, and messed with the tab some more. No dice. I tried reviewing the pictures I already had, but it wouldn't let me do that. The card did have LOTS of photos on it already, and I thought that maybe it was just full; that when I got home, I'd upload the photos and clear some off the card, and I'd be back in business.

Of course, when I got home, I searched the Internet for tips as to what was going on. I messed with the memory card some more. It is old and I have used it constantly for years and years, and the tab that locks and unlocks the card just slides up and down of its own accord. I tried putting tape on it. I tried putting the card in a different camera (same model): got the same message. I put the card in a card reader; the computer didn't even recognize it or open it.

Now I realized I had TWO problems. One was how to get the pictures off the memory card. Second was that until I solved the problem, I COULD NOT TAKE ANY MORE PICTURES, which is a state of disaster indeed, at least at this house.

So I did what I could. I got out a new and bigger memory card - 32 GB instead of the 8 GB I had in the camera all this time - and formatted it in the camera, and voila, I was back in business! But no matter what I've done - and I've tried it all, and I've tried it all AGAIN - the memory card with all of those glorious photos on it, probably 150 to 200 shots - it's gone, all gone.

Has this sort of thing ever happened to you? I can't say it was the best day I've ever had, but it was the best day I've had in a WHILE, photo-wise, anyway. And now it's gone. Cue the Rutger Hauer/Roy Batty "Tears in the Rain" speech from Blade Runner right here:

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

I am writing this story the morning after. I hate to say this, because it sounds so petty, and with all of the stressful and awful things going on in the world right now, do I even have a right? But I grieve. I grieve for all of those beautiful moments that will now be lost in time.

But I am trying NOT to be sad. I had a beautiful day. The best day in a while. But I have nothing to show for it, no pictures anyway, nothing to keep and hold onto. I am working on trying to be happy anyway, to be grateful for such a good day that its leaving makes me sorrowful.

And how much more awful it would have been if it had been something even more precious and irreplaceable: the last pictures of my sister and me together before she died, pictures from a real photo gig (I was supposed to be this year's photographer for the Hendrick Conference, which would have been coming up in about a week, except that it, like all things, has been cancelled), pictures from a vacation to someplace I hardly ever get to go.Yes, those things would have been much more horrible to lose. And so I am working on my gratitude, but I have to tell you: It is hard.

After I got home, and tried all the things I did, and finally realized the dire situation, I got right back on that horse, as they say. I grabbed my camera with its brand NEW and BIGGER memory card, still blank yet, and took the cat out to the car, as we do. As I sat there and watched the birds, the cardinal showed up and sang for me, and I took his picture.

So here is my photo for the day. It's a consolation prize, to be sure, but it is what it is. As the Stones say, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find . . . you get what you need.

My soundtrack song is this one: the Rolling Stones, with You Can't Always Get What You Want. And I've come back and added this one too: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, with Gone, Gone, Gone.

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