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Freeze, pause and let nature reveal its true colours

My wife, Rita, tells me that she always sees a Crimson Sunbird (she has never known its proper name except calling it a little red bird) feeding on nectar in some hibiscus flowers in front of our house in Inobong, Penampang.

To her, it is just one of the many familiar birds that are found around our backyard and in the secondary forest that forms a wall of trees along the Putaton river that runs through our small ancestral land.

It has always been “that little red bird” to her until this great shot by Henry Goh, the Vice Chairman of BirdLife International for South East Asian Region. We had the privilege of having him visit us together with a bird photographer, Yong It Ching, a few days ago.

“Is this the same bird?” she asks in amazement.

I must admit that I, too, was super impressed not only by his photography skill but also by the sight of the bird in the picture.

Borneo Pulse co-founders, Jerry Kamijan and Kee Helmey, who woke up as early as 5am that morning to join us for a taste of birding for the first time (likewise myself) were instantly ‘converted’ into bird watching and bird photography. “I need to get myself a camera,” Jerry announces, sounding determined.

As I was looking at the amazing details of the bird in the picture while Henry was explaining something about it to Jerry and Kee (I think it was about how the shot was taken with his Olympus), I caught myself wondering how a bird, frozen in time in a photo, could have tremendous power to make us see nature as it is. That photo shows the tiny bird in all its splendour that is so gifted by nature, by the universe.

I would like to believe that something really wonderful, meaningful and enlightening happens deep in our soul if we care to pause a moment and take a second look at nature and the animal world. I would like to believe that this is how reality wants to communicate with us on what truly matters in our brief stay on this planet.

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