This Is Not a Leap of Faith

hover fly in air

The Syrphid fly pictured was indeed not “leaping,” but hovering ā€” as you might expect a hover fly to do. However, when I look at this photograph, I always have the image in my mind of someone leaping from somewhere high, maybe a cliff or building, into the great open space of…where? Oblivion? Salvation? The Future? Maybe just the ocean. Then I notice again the legs folded perfectly for flight like the appendages of a Voltron toy from my receding childhood. I remember: this is not a leap of faith. This is an insect being true to itself, being one tiny joint in this infinite jest. Except, that’s not entirely true either. It is a leap of faith, but it isn’t a fly, it’s a finger: through the viewfinder, the bob and strain of my neck, the unsteadiness of my breathing, the ache in my knees, the sweat in my eyes, the plane of focus coming and going like the pendulum, time itself getting longer and shorter at once, the pressure building, the instant before perfection and then depression: my finger on the shutter release button. This is to live as a fly and also to capture it flying, hovering as a tiny immortal in a photograph. This is a leap of faith, and somewhere in front of the lens and behind the image is something beautiful.

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