Seeing in Silence

Great Blue Heron in black and white walking in water

I am a morning person.  I love the stillness of the morning.  I love the way the groggy silence envelops me. Everything slows down.  Without the noise that fills every other space in the rest of my day, I can see so much more clearly. I can hear my own voice so much more loudly.  My favorite mornings are the cold fall mornings when the earth is on the verge of waking up.  The air is crisp and cold. A veil of fog hangs from branches pelting my cheeks. My breath billows and clings.

This is the perfect time for me to shoot. Without all of the extraneous noise, I see things I would have surely missed. Distracted by screens and ringtones even conversation, I miss so much.  It’s not just the silent animals miraculously camouflaged in their habitat that I would miss.  It is fully appreciating the scene unfolding before my eyes. Frost painting the last golden leaves.  The crunch of soil wet just the day before.   A pallette of golds and greens fading subtly to brown.  Sharp sunlight sneaking through without its heat.

Seeing the world in silence is seeing from a completely different perspective.  I am keenly aware of the fleeting beauty that is nature. The impermanence of life that is the cost of the gift.  When I see in silence, I see the magnitude of capturing a unique moment in an ever-changing life.

The photograph below was taken one fall morning.  I was watching a Great Blue Heron hunting in the low tide backlit by the rising sun. Shadows of abandoned pilings reached across the water.  One stray branched curled behind the bird.

Perhaps you are not a morning person. I encourage you to find that place and time of day you are most relaxed. Go off the grid. Unplug.  Even for a short time, see the world in the silence.


Early Bird
(1/640 sec. f/6, 800 ISO, 420 mm)

Copyright Catherine Matthews 2017.

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Catherine Matthews is an educator and author living north of Seattle with her husband and two boxers, Delta the Destroyer and Buttercup the Bored. She is currently querying her debut novel, Becoming Benny. Her essay, Deeper Than Social Connections, is featured in the eBook and audiobook editions of the anthology Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19. After a lifetime of academic writing, Catherine discovered her passion for creative writing when she dove into writing her blog, Life Through My Lens. In contrast to her dissertation, which should not be read while operating heavy machinery, her stories will make you laugh and cry as she recollects the follies of her youth, and her adventures in parenting, teaching, and leading schools. A learner at heart, she is an active member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Hugo House. She is up before dawn to start her day with her two favorite things: riding her bike and working on her latest novel. You can connect with her on Twitter (@cmatthewsauthor) or Instagram (@catherinematthewsauthor), or visit her webpage

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