For this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge Amanda’s topic is SHAPES and I’m reminded of lesson I learned in an art class many years ago.
“What is a line?” my art teacher asked.
I was a Math & Science major tolerating an elective Arts & Design class and was taken aback by this self-evident question.
“A line is …” I said before pausing to think.
Maybe the question wasn’t so self-evident. A line is something you draw with a ruler and pencil, I thought. But what of curved lines? And how could drawing a line be the same as defining it?
“A line is a sequence of points,” the teacher said.
As a mathematician and scientist, I understood points. My estimation of this Art & Design class grew ever so slightly.
“What is a shape?” the teacher asked.
I knew better than to answer an obviously trick question. I looked around at my fellow class mates. Surely these artsy-fartsy types knew the answer. But no, their faces were as blank as mine.
“A shape is a linked line filled with points,” the teacher said.
A mind-bending definition. Years later I’d learn more about pixels and digitization but back then, the definition of line and shape as points was a revelation.
Nowadays with my poor eyesight, I’m more likely to see vague shapes than finely delineated lines. There’s a lot to be seen by looking at shapes rather than details. Sometimes, it’s all that can be seen.
In my neighborhood there are several pairs of nesting bald eagles. An eagle in flight is a beauty to behold and whenever I see one, I consider it a gift. Eagles like to ride the air currents, soaring up to 10,000 feet above sea level. At this height, all you can see are shapes gliding against the sky. As I look at them up there, I can only imagine what they see looking down below.
On the trails, I sometimes see an eagle flying above the tree line. Here it’s possible to see the massive wing span and distinctive flight feathers. It’s not always possible to see their white markings but with the right conditions of light, reflection and altitude, I have done. I mark those times as doubly gifted days.
Eagle spotting is not a predictable event and very rarely (really never) have I been able to take good photos.
A few weeks ago, on a particularly grey and rainy day, I looked out my window to the Sitka spruces in front of our deck. Silhouetted against the sky was a large dark shape with a distinctive hooked beak. Incredibly, a juvenile eagle had landed there to shelter from the rain.
Hurriedly, I called my husband and we both fumbled to get our cameras. I didn’t get a good shot but here is hubby’s capture.
You’ll notice the absence of white feathers on the head, neck and tail. This is a juvenile who hasn’t yet grown into his colours. I’ve noticed that juveniles seem more likely to fly closer to sea level. In fact, this was not the first time that I’d seen a young one sheltering in the trees. It was however, the closest at 10 meters (30 feet) away!
Vancouver Island, Canada