Winged Soul Egrets in Flight. A photographic poeme

Captured moments of wild beauty that reflect the wild beauty inside every human soul.

It started as a personal challenge. Capturing birds in flight was harder than I thought.

They move. Fast. There's forward motion at one speed and wings flapping at a different speed. My camera was confused and... so was I.

Eventually though, I got the shot. It took my breath away. So I took another and another. When I did, they were so beautiful that I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand about this life. This creature. The Great Egret.

The images looked like some sort of dance. Nature's Ballet. Then, I started reading about the mythology. The symbolism. It goes back into distant windows of time. It goes across cultures.

Joseph Campbell said, "People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. ... “Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical."

The Feather of Peace.

The mythology surrounding these birds led me to the poetry. The art of the magical and the mythological addressed in poetry. The Persian poet, Rumi opened poetry to us in the last few decades in a new sort of verse. A freestyle verse. Then, I found out Rumi's mentor, way back in the 13th century, was a man who was known as The Bird.

Rumi's 13th century Persian mentor was called Shams of Tabriz. He was known as The Bird.

The poetry. The mythological importance. The art. Yet, there was more. Their actual history. Again, I was floored. Their history is wrapped up with ours. Human Beings. Women. American history. Environmental history. A conservationist. Even a President. There was one thing embedded in their history that seemed weird. It was Hot Sauce.

About then, I decided to submit 5 of the images to Communication Arts Magazine for their 2015 Photography Annual. I had won once before for a single image in 2013 but that's no guarantee of winning again. It's a tough competition. (To give you an idea, National Geographic wins a couple of these awards almost every year. You know their photography is excellent.) Anyway, after a couple of months... the notice came. All 5 of my images won. It felt like winning an oscar. The Photography Award of Excellence.

2015 Communication Arts Magazine. Photography Annual.

The I submitted another set of the images to Creative Quarterly. I won another Award of Excellence for them in issue #42. Everyone said I should make a coffee-table book of the images. I thought about it but I had learned so much and there was so much to these birds. Their backstory. Their beauty. The way they've entwined with people. I wanted to do something more. I wanted something people could feel and I wanted it to mirror the nature we all have within us.

So, I emailed Coleman Barks and asked if I could reference him. He replied affirmatively within minutes. He taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for thirty years. It was Barks who brought us Rumi's freestyle poetry translations in a form we could more easily understand.

Because, yes, I was going to write the history. Of course, I planned to tell you about the mythology. But I wanted you to have more. Something to which you could relate. Something personal. Something that would help you soar as high as these amazing birds.

Poetry is the one form of literature where we know we must seek the meaning behind the words. Like you. There's more to you than just your surface.

It's the poetry that reflects who we are when we are one with nature. Both our own nature and the environment around us. I wanted this project to be an art project that combined art and nature. Captured moments of wild beauty that I believe reflect the wild beauty inside every human soul.

Because that's who you are. You're part of the dance.

Never forget that.

The Book will be available on Amazon and Blurb in time for the Holidays.

Link to follow

Nature's Ballet Prints available at

And this is me.

Created By
Nancy McGregor


©2016 Nancy McGregor; all rights reserved

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