backyard visitors, birds, Florida wildlife, home, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography

A gentleman caller…

Yesterday I got a surprise when I looked out front to check and see if the trash had been picked up yet.  It had.  But as I headed out to put the trash can away I discovered a visitor on the lawn.  Funny that he was there because lately I’ve been lamenting to myself that I can’t just sit out in the back yard and have photo ops come to me any more.  And birds have been scarce in general, even in places that I thought you would always find them.  It was a young wood stork, smaller than most of the ones I’ve seen.

Of course I grabbed the camera and went out the door for pictures.  This didn’t seem to bother him a lot, he stood his ground and I sat on my stoop and started shooting.  Personally, I think he liked the photo shoot.  He certainly turned this way and that, maybe he was deciding which was his best side.  He also was approaching me, making me suspect that someone has been feeding him.  I understand the urge to do that, and I even had frozen corn and peas which I’ve read is what you are supposed to feed ducks, if you can’t resist feeding them.  But I did resist.  Eventually I’d taken so many pictures, and I wondered what mission he’d been on when I interrupted him, so I went inside.  I couldn’t resist checking to see what he was doing though, but I didn’t have to look hard because he was right outside my front door, looking in.  I hope his interest in people doesn’t cause him problems, but on the other hand I hope I see him again.10-14woodstork710-14woodstork110-14woodstork210-14woodstork310-14woodstork410-14woodstork610-14woodstork5

'scene' along the way, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, gardens, lizards, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, technology

Saturday at the Botanical Gardens…

At the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens that is.  I may never have gone there on a Saturday before.  I say this because it just seemed to be bustling with activity, which isn’t usually the case.  They were getting ready for a wedding, decorating the gazebo, and chairs were set up ready for guests.  It looked to be my kind of affair, small and simple.  I’ll bet it was nice. 10-12gazebo

It was early and the sun was strong and made for deep shadows.  The butterflies in the butterfly garden were scarce, and too busy to sit for photographs.  But the female cardinal was too busy eating berries to worry about me and my camera.10-12cardinal2

But what tickled me most was that the train was zooming around the track.  That was a first.  I’d seen that the track was there of course, but hadn’t seen it in operation.  The gentleman running it says it runs every Saturday from 9 AM to noon.  The track circles a display that includes two little waterfalls, and I happily tried to get pictures but the strong sun and shadows got in the way.  So I used my new iPhone to take shots of the train in burst mode, and it shot a movie instead.  Clearly I need to study up on how to take best advantage of the features of the phone.  And the site wouldn’t let me post the little video.  But I got one shot of the train at least.10-12train

This water feature was new to me also.10-12waterfeatureAnd, what we have most of here in Florida, lizards!10-12lizard

'scene' along the way, birds, boats, finding my way, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, moments, nature, perseverance, photography

Snowbirds…

The snowbirds don’t seem to have returned to Florida yet.  Well, this one has, but I seem to be the exception.  The October calendar in the park doesn’t list any activities for the month, and when you go to the pool you just might be the only one there.  I went to Tarpon Springs thinking I’d do some street photography, but the streets were emptier than I’ve ever seen them.  Maybe they are all still up north, waiting for the pretty foliage. And my photographer friends seemed to be rejoicing about the return of the birds to the area, but I haven’t actually found them either.  It’s a lull.  Crowds and traffic will be arriving soon.  And so will the birds.  I need to enjoy the moment while it lasts…10-10tarponquest10-10tarponoldboat10-10tarponoctopus10-10tarpongull10-10tarpon3birds

'scene' along the way, childhood, connections, family, finding my way, friends, healing, life goes on, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Rivers and circles…

A favorite author of mine is William Least Heat Moon, and my favorite book of his is Blue Highways.  What struck me when reading this book was his descriptions of the land and scenery as he drove the blue highways on the map, purposely avoiding the major roadways to better appreciate the country and the people who populate it.  He was describing what he saw in his travels, but his descriptions showed me a connection to nature and the land that was so different from my experience.  Was it his Indian heritage that connected him in that special way?  I thought so.

I’m currently reading his River Horse, and have been for months.  It’s in Kindle so I can resurrect it whenever I feel like it, and I’ve forgotten about it for weeks on end.  In it he is attempting to cross the country by river, which, it turns out, is a much more complicated undertaking than I ever would have imagined.  But just now I came across a passage that really spoke to me.  He was quoting the famous Lakota holy man who says in Black Elk Speaks:

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round.  In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished.  The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it.  The east gave us peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.

I’m certainly not an Indian, and not a deep thinker, but those words struck me because I saw my own journey into the past as a completion of a circle.  And I don’t think that having made the connections that I made on my trip has closed that circle in any way.  The heart-warming whole that it created is still with me…

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'scene' along the way, a second look, finding my way, Florida landmarks, home, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sunrise

The usual places…

I have to approach Aripeka from the opposite direction since I moved.  And if I hadn’t set the GPS I’d have missed the turn in the dark.  So I came upon this scene first.  Considering that it was quite overcast I was encouraged by the sight.10-9aripeka#1

But it become obvious after a bit that the sun was actually going to come up on the far right of this shot, so I moved down the road to Hammond Bridge.

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There was such a nice sunrise developing that I nearly forgot to turn and check to see the reflected sunrise.  When I checked again a minute later the sky had lost it’s glow.  And this bridge is where I used to see One-Foot Fred, but I didn’t see any herons today.  That was the only disappointing thing about the morning.