OK, so it might seem a bit of a random choice but I want to see a puffin. Yes, a puffin. A real, live, genuine puffin. For some reason, photographing a puffin didn’t connect even though they are seriously photogenic. They’re iconic, a simplicity of form that translate so well into a simple black and white motif or logo but yet on the other hand there’s something exotic looking about them. I think it’s the beak, the colours and shape calling to mind tropical birds of faraway lands like toucans, even parrots maybe.
I’ve never seen a puffin. However puffins have always been an iconic image of my childhood. There was a local business named for the puffin, they gave us (or maybe my mother bought from there) wooden badges shaped and painted as a puffin. I’ve probably still got mine somewhere. Then of course there was the famous publishing house whose newsletter, catalogue, magazine, thing was handed out once a term at junior school and the bookaholic child that I was (and still am) would pore over endlessly. Puffins have always been there.
Now they surface regularly in the magazines and media of my adult life, colourful and as I said, photogenic. It was one such photo that got me thinking that I want to see a puffin. After all we share the same country, unlikely as it seems.
Then that got me thinking about how little we do see. Even less that we see and appreciate. We have friends who live in a slightly more exotic milieu (well when it comes to ornithology) and they have pelicans and hummingbirds at their doorstep (well, perhaps not quite that literally). They think this is perfectly normal and were surprised to learn that we’d never seen either before. Except on the television. The problem with normal is that we take things for granted. We forget that the things around us are often treasures. Treasures that should be deeply appreciated. If I’ve seen a pelican and a hummingbird, then really I should get around to seeing a puffin.