Every Snapshot has a Story

seemingly quiet…

En route to a popular coastal destination…

I could not help but stop driving to take a snapshot of this idyllic landscape…or so it seems.

I thought I was lucky to have captured this moment only to realise that I am now one of many drivers who has broken the tranquility of this scene.

One Day. Two Stories.’Kevi and Santa’

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A quiet stream


The weather
may be muggy today, but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Kevi and Santa. Here is the other story.  

I took a stroll into the woods and stopped by a quiet stream to cool down. A dog was already there doing the same.  Its kind lady owner allowed me to take a photograph of her dog having fun.
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As I took the shot, my attention got diverted onto a couple at the shallow end of the stream. Their backs were turned to me and both were busy getting something from among the overgrown bushes in the water. This scene felt familiar. It took me back to a river in a town where I grew up. What I needed to do now was to verify a wild guess!

The woman noticed me and signaled that I follow a narrow path leading to where she was standing.

Whoah! I was right! The couple was gathering fresh and (oh, well, call it organic) watercress! I knew it!

Watercress is called tungsoy in my Ilocano dialect.

Here’s a flashback to my neighbourhood in La Trinidad, Benguet Philippines. Many residents plant watercress in a river for free! Then it was sold fresh and in bundles. By the way, for those who grew up in the same neighbourhood, they would know exactly what river I was referring to.

Back to the present: Where I currently live, watercress is packed and sold for making vegetable salads. Some people are not aware that it can either be sauteed or steamed.

The couple from Nepal spoke broken English but I was able to get their names; Kevi and Santa. They generously gave me a bagful of freshly picked watercress! From a stream where you’d never expect was teeming with such nutritious green.

Not unless you have the slightest idea, then you’d never know.

img_2688Thank you, Kevi and Santa. Watercress happened to be one of my favourites. I hope we’ll meet again.

 

Here is the first story in one day.






One Day. Two Stories. ‘Bernie’

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someone else’s lucky day


The weather may be muggy today but it’s tempting not to stay indoors. So I decided to drive around and take photos of the town where I’ve lived for the last 13 years. Then I met Bernie. This is his story.

My stopover was in a park with a large pond near my home. It must have been my lucky day! I just spotted a pair of swans frolicking in the water. What a good photo that would make!

Then I noticed that it was also someone else’s lucky day. He was not only clicking away with a camera slung around his neck but seemed to be chatting with the swans, too. Interesting!

 

As I approached nearer, I found the man feeding the swans and their cygnets with grass. Sensing my curiosity he explained, “They do eat grass but not any kind. They must be hand-cut and I’ve just given them dandelions. Try feeding them with that (pointing to the grass on the ground) and they will only spit it out.”

Here’s more: he must have read my mind. “The colour of the beak of the male is dark orange. The female beak is also orange but lighter.

They used to have nine cygnets. One of them died and the other got injured so it  was taken away.”

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Suddenly, the female swan (now I know) came closer to him. “Okay, you’re still hungry. Here’s some bread.”

I thought, “Oh wow, carbs and veg, good for you swan.”

“I come here everyday”, he continued. I guess my face looks familiar to them. But I would not mess with them during the mating season. The male, especially, can become aggressive. “He hit my hand with his wing once and it put me out of action for four days!”

He then pointed to a heron perched on the concrete in the middle of the pond.

heron ready for take-off

He got amused with the coots trying to grab their share of the bread. He threw in some more. I thought, “carbs and veg, good for you, ducks!”

Finally, I found the chance to ask him his name. ‘Bernie’.

Bernie is an amiable old man. (Even the wild swans took to him, right?) The lines on his face reflect a happy human being.

Not only did he impart valuable ‘swan wisdom’ but also taught me how to identify the variety of birds residing in the pond. More importantly, Bernie gave my photos more meaning.

I have been to this pond several times but today was a chance encounter with a man who has a genuinely good heart. Indeed this was a lucky day!  I know I will see Bernie again one of these days. I drove away with a smile.

Here is The second story in one day.