I have read about native North American orchids for all my life.
Until two years ago, however, I had always looked upon such things as kindred with unicorns.
I had never seen one.
Then one day in April 2012 my wife and I were wandering along the crest of a ridge above San Juan Channel and I saw a flash of pink down in the moss and tiny plants that make up the forest floor in this part of the North American rain forest.
Something told me to look at it closely.
It was AN ORCHID!
I could not believe it.
But it didn’t care if I believed it.
It was, nonetheless, an orchid.
I took its picture.
I took several other pictures of orchids that day. And I was relatively happy with what I got. But I was not really happy. The thing – actually seeing an orchid in the woods of Washington State on a rather cold afternoon in April - had been such a surprise that, even though I had had a camera with me , I really wasn’t prepared to shoot images of unicorns.
And that was what would have been necessary to have done it correctly.
In the intervening two years I have played out in my mind how I would shoot those tiny specks of color so many times that I think I could do it asleep.
I have, in fact, dreamed about it.
Today the time of the year, the time of the month, the time of the day and the slant of the sun seemed to bode well for the execution of those plans for capturing orchid images.
And it was.
And here they are.