Each day most of us go through a myriad of emotions. We might feel cheerful, sad, proud, embarrassed, shocked, confused, hesitant, amused, or excited. There’s a long list of emotions we may be feeling, but there is one that doesn’t come upon us often. That is the feeling of awe . . . the overwhelming feeling of reverence or admiration. The feeling when we experience something so marvelous we gasp, the hairs on our arms stand on end, and we get goose bumps.
Awe is the only word I know to describe how I felt while watching a large group of trumpeter swans that winter on a small lake here in Arkansas. They are gorgeous creatures and so fascinating that I made two trips to see them. On my second trip, I spent less time behind my camera and more time observing and listening.
There were young ones that played nearby waiting until someone threw a handful of corn. Of course, like children there was some pushing and shoving. I even saw a little tail biting!
There were adults that did a little showing off. They held their wings over their back in a puffed up position to advertise their strength and their neck in a strong S-curve in an aggressive posture.
Despite their large size, they would tip their bodies head down to dabble for vegetation below the water's surface.
I decided it was about time to tear myself away from the lake and head home when I heard the most unusual noise. A farmer on his tractor was crossing the field near the swans on the far side of the lake. As he came closer to them they took flight. All those swans taking flight caused the ones on the lake to take flight also. What I saw and heard was indescribable. The cows were mooing, the swans honking and splashing the water with their big feet as they lifted into the air, and there was a cry of surprise from those of us watching.
As they took flight, they stretched their necks out straight and extended their legs and feet behind their tails. They circled and circled above the lake all the while honking and honking. It was an electrifying moment. I witnessed something huge and marvelous. There was an overwhelming feeling of awe. It literally left me shaking with joy.
This world that we are given to enjoy is a gift.
I encourage you to go out and let it bring you moments of awe.