By Kristy Walker, Minnesota

As a wildlife photographer, I had always wanted to photograph swans with their babies. One year I spotted a swan in a marsh at a park near my home. I could hardly believe it, but this female was making a nest. Every day I visited the place in hopes of seeing her babies.

The mom and dad must have gotten used to my presence. After their babies hatched, they allowed me to watch the babies play in the water with them. Sometimes the mom would stay on the nest while Dad took the babies swimming. It was truly a gift to behold.



Touching the Moon

I arrived, one evening at dusk, in Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge to photograph sandhill cranes as they flew to their roosting site. A year earlier I’d been to this place when a full moon was rising. I had the thrill of photographing cranes flying with the sun behind them. Then I felt a familiar inner nudge from the Mahanta, my inner spiritual guide, to turn around with my camera. To my surprise, the cranes were flying across a full moon.

The next year I tried to replicate the rare shot. But nature wasn’t cooperating. The moon was coming up a little later, and the sun was setting a little earlier. Although I didn’t think I’d get a photo of the cranes crossing a full moon, I felt grateful just to be on this lone country road, listening to the sounds they made while flying.

But what was the familiar sound I heard? Could it be a swan song? I’d never seen a swan in this area. To my surprise and joy, two swans took off from the field in front of me and flew across the sky past the full moon. I could hardly believe my good fortune when I was able to capture a photo of one of them. I never guessed it would be possible. Love filled my heart as I felt grateful for this gift from Spirit.

For me, these experiences with the swans have served as a window into God’s loving presence. I began to see the sacred in the ordinary. When my eyes are open with wonder, the ECK reveals Its wonders. Spirit has taught me to keep showing up, be open, listen, and see the thread of love that connects us all. I’ve learned to follow those nudges, have patience, be in the moment, have discipline, and feel grateful. Most importantly I’ve grown in my appreciation for relying on the Mahanta, my spiritual guide, in all areas of my life, including waiting for a swan to fly by the full moon.

—Photos by Kristy Walker