It’s here—even if you were blindfolded you couldn’t miss the scent of fall in the air. When molecules and memories collide and the sweet sugary smell of decaying leaves fills the air. It’s impossible not to be reminded of childhood moments spent raking leaves into piles and leaping into them afterward.
This walk in the mountains was particularly memorable. Watchful of bears stuffing themselves in the final weeks before hibernation, we entered a clearing just as three elk strolled past navigating the shallow waters of the creek bed.
And just then I heard it. Ripping through the air the bugle call of a bull elk as dawn’s first light began to lift the shadows.
He laughed at the expression on my face after hearing the sound for the first time and my hand reached for his as we soaked up the moment.
The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Beautiful words and a fascinating subject I’ve been exploring. Pupil dilation…perhaps the most important cue on behavior over which we have little control. They dilate in response to not just light but also in response to exploration and exploitation.
It wasn’t until photographing the kokanee during spawning that I realized that they died at the end of it and in this image, near death, the pupil was dilated.
Studies have also indicated that shuttering the pupil can have a detrimental impact on moral behavior by allowing a higher degree of perceived anonymity and my take away from that is to be far more wary of someone who keeps that feature hidden.
Social norms have taught us how to fake smile and feign interest but it would appear that there are clues that cannot be controlled…visual tells that extend far beyond the correlation of the smile reaching the eye.
I’m reminded of Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, that I read years ago while involved with Search and Rescue with my bloodhound. He spoke about that situation where you’re waiting for an elevator, the doors open to a large man inside and your gut tells you to not get in but your mind worries about insulting the person inside that elevator. What would you do?
We ignore signals that could protect us from violence on a continual basis and I’ll be giving more thought to those who shutter their eyes without an obvious reason.