Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Small Gestures

People have been telling me stories today. Not in words, but in the silent language of gesture...

A man walks ahead of me with his golden lab by his side. The soft filtered morning light illuminates the side of his face as he turns his head to look at his faithful companion. He stops, pulls a treat out of his pocket and tosses it to his friend. Silently they walk on. No words needed in this sharing of love.

A man and his young child are in the middle of a game of swordplay. The child swings his long shiny sword, slicing the air into pieces... delirious with laughter. His father has his arms stretched out as he tries to swoop out of the way, left and right. Is the child pretending his father is a dragon? Who will come out of this battle alive?

A girl dressed in blue throws her red hat into the upward shooting jet stream of a water fountain. She watches in glee as it balances and dances on top of the water spout.

An elderly man slowly approaches a very tame peacock in the park and carefully reaches down to touch the long flowing sea-coloured tail feathers. He's so captivated that he remains still as he watches the bird wander away...he follows it for some time. Someone who has seen so much of the world in his long journey through life and he can still see the wonder in things.

A woman standing at a bus stop smiles at me as I drive past her. The warmest (and my favourite) of all gestures. Especially when it is shared between two strangers. It makes the world seem like a more friendly and welcoming place.

A guy walks into the bookstore swinging a butterfly net. What was he hoping to catch? Two of the employees were having a laugh over this because apparently a bird flew into the store earlier in the day and they could have used a guy with a net.

I love to people watch. It's a fascinating thing to observe the ways of others when language is not a distracting element. On my way home I passed by this interesting old door with golden poppies growing on either side of it. Even though the light was wrong, I had to stop and take a picture. As I was putting away my gear I looked up and across the street to the neighbouring house. A woman was standing on the porch and our eyes met for a seemingly long time, as I'm sure she was wondering what I was up to. It was then that I realised that I was no longer the observer.


  1. Great people watching! I love all the wonderful interactions.

  2. People watching is so fascinating :-)

    And the photo is just stunning! It's beautiful.

  3. Beautiful photo! (as always)

    Have you ever watched people watch people...sooo much fun! xx

  4. i love how you strung these stories together and wrapped it up at the end ... its like a long beautifully written photograph :)

    i heart people watching ...


  5. If someone doesn't give you a book deal to publish all these wonderful stories with their PERFECT photo illustrations, they are missing out. Thankfully, I know where you are & can come here & read & look my fill. What gorgeous observations, topped (liked a sundae w/a cherry) by this photo of a flower that looks like an ocean wave about to break. The movement in this stillness is breathtaking. When you begin to sell these images, please let me know. :)

    Love, Debi

  6. stunning photo and great word images.
    i agree, people watching can be so much fun and you are a sensitive observer.

  7. delicious! Thank you so much for the reminder - I have been going through my days in a bit of a haze lately. Tomorrow I intend to collect some images of my day like this - I will people watch - and try to string them together as beautifully as you have here - thank you!

  8. It always amazes me how little needs to be actually said out loud to communicate. Some of the best conversations are wordless...and a picture's worth 1000.
    Stunning image!!!!

  9. This is exactly my kind of fun and exactly why I don't understand how anyone can ever be bored. There is so much to look at in the world, even in a tiny corner of it in one day.
    "Is the child pretending his father is a dragon?" I just loved this one.
    And the lady smiling at you, which is a beautiful happening, and the girl throwing her hat.
    I didn't see any of this but somehow you've brightened my day by sharing.
    This is magical, and that's a word I apply often to your writings. Almost a sense of the unreal and as though your experiences have a hazy glow about them. Enchanting.

  10. During my college days in India, i would sit arround the muncipal gardern walls while waiting for friends.
    People would go down the street,Men and Women and children.

    In India men are very particular about their moustaches. I think there's nowhere in the world, a place for moustaches, like in India. They come in all sorts,; twisted , curved, could do a lots of character reading.
    And i 'd do the moustache watching, and try out my pseudo psychology guessing how much his moustache meant to him or what would life be for him without his moustache.

    Other times, (more agreable )i'd watch women, wearing fresh flowers in their hair.
    Wondering how her ritual for the day was engaged with that particular bunch of flowers she'd be carrying.
    She'd be precipating either from shop to shops or on the way to catch a bus...while dying flowers left their fragrance And, poetry blended gracefully the flower and the woman.

    To make all this look really Indian, you could imagine, a cow squating in the middle of the road, in a puddle of cowdung and potholes, with buses loaded, full of indigenes,going in all the direction of the same road, honking vehicles and choked up traffic waiting for the cow to get up and walk away, while the traffic cop takes his time to sip a free tea he taxes from the nearby tea-stall.

    As a Photographer your sharp eyes would have seen even more than what could think of describing....
    what? feel like coming to India in November?? Hmmm!

  11. Oh, Rhayne! Oh my! Such words. Such a beautiful heart you have to notice the beauty in others; the soul of others shining in their everyday interactions. I love this post and the image at the start. I most love the guy with the butterfly net. Where was he going next? Oh, the wonder...

  12. Beautiful...simply beautiful! Such great stories! I so love to watch people too...


  13. jaime! hurrah! **throwing my own chapeaux into the air** i loved this post and at the same time i was reading it i had clicked on your photography site link for the first time and was listening to the music of...enya perhaps? all i can say is, in writing my own post today i could not have been more accurate in my description of your blog :) i am completely delighted today! the photo is...words escape me :) i wish i could ride that lovely breaking blue wave as debi describes it. this just pleases me no end! i don't know how i missed coming to see this for two days but it makes it all the better having envisioned this writing somehow in my mind as i thought of you.

  14. yes our hearts must be linked...because while you were at my house commenting on this 'commenting coincidence' i was returning to yours to let you know i corrected the link in my post using jaime instead of rhayne :)

  15. Just lovely, sweetheart.


  16. One of my favorite posts by far.

    There are so many ways to be that flower: observe it, stand on one side of it, ride it, bring it close to my cheek to feel the softness.

    Your dance with people is sacred, and you tell your stories with such love. I enjoy hearing them:)

  17. i'm so glad you do this too! and it's so wonderful that you shared your observations! it makes me want to go out and watch the people go by on my street right now!! there are so many stories out there, waiting to be observed and told...

  18. beautiful. thats what we lack in busy world. to stand and stare the world around us.

  19. this is one absolutely gorgeous photo.