Greener Grass

My body clock seems to be a bit off for a number of reasons, not least of which the five hour time difference being mal-adjusted from my Ireland trip last week.

Going hand in hand with a general feeling of exhaustion is the repeated waking up around 3 o’clock each morning since I got back. Apart from annoyingly having to pass the early am hours alone in the dark, by mid-afternoon, I am generally flagging.

Well, I say “alone in the dark” and that isn’t exactly true. Since I got back, little Rocky has spend each night sleeping with me … by my side, or on my legs, or up near my pillow. He is such a sweetheart; I missed him terribly and he apparently missed me too!

When he does notice my awakening, he decides enough is enough and jumps on my chest or pushes me with his little paws. “Time for breakfast” is clearly one of the thoughts he is trying to convey. And so I oblige.

So, by five this morning I had fed everyone, released those who were locked into the office overnight, and even had my own breakfast. There were a few options in front of me as to what to do next and the one I took was grabbing the camera and heading down to Lake Parker to catch the sunrise. Or, more accurately, twilight.

I arrived there almost an hour before sunrise and was back in the car heading home by the time anything broke the horizon.

The boat launch and dock were open when I got there, so that is where I set myself up and watched the sky waken to shades of blue and gold and then transform into roaring reds and orange.

It was extremely invigorating and regardless of what others might tell you, there is no better way to start a day than to breathe in Mother Nature’s magic into your soul. You can’t help but feel energized.

I have attached some images that show the color progression and I hope you enjoy.

I think the thought that I emerged with this morning and ultimately led to this blog was how I had just returned from photographing some of the most amazing scenery along the west and southwest of Ireland. And the resultant blogs and images would make a person think it is the most beautiful place on earth.

For some reason we always seem to imagine the grass been greener on the other side and bestow more beauty to a sight in a foreign place, than one we see every day here at home.

So, standing at the side of Lake Parker and watching the colors play across the horizon, I accepted that, though very different, this scene was every bit as beautiful.

It is one of the perks of living in Florida that over half of the mornings here start just like this. Magical colors and wonderful clouds. And then again it plays out on the western horizon at sunset.

But because we get almost two hundred of these every year, they become a bit “blah” to us and we don’t give them the acknowledgement they deserve.

Similarly, the trails and the creatures that inhabit them in Florida are so common and pervasive that I almost bore my readers with images of what others would consider to be the most amazing birds and animals around.

Not to mention the wild creatures that come into my yard every night like possums and raccoons, armadillos, deer, owls, hawks, snakes, …. I don’t even need to hit a trail to see these guys.

The point is simple. Where we live is every bit as beautiful as where we wish we could visit. While we crave a visit to Europe, Europeans crave a visit to Florida.

We are each as guilty of taking for granted the beauty in our own back yard and swooning over a distant hill or cliff edge.

The simple truth is that beauty is within us. It is how we look and appreciate what is right in front of us. We take out those glasses when we visit other places and stare longingly at scenes that are ignored by those that live there. And then we put these glasses back into our pocket when we get home.

I remember years ago on a trail at Circle B, I was down off the trail in a bit of a gulley, taking pics of a thistle that was blooming. It was flowering in a gorgeous pink or violet manner and its pollen had attracted a little bee who was getting drunk on its nectar and covering himself in the process.

I must have spent fifteen minutes down there, getting shot after shot and a young couple pushing a stroller eventually passed me on the trail and slowed down to see what I was shooting. When I told them it was a thistle I got a “oh” and then they picked up pace and moved on.

I remember think at the time how they were completely missing the point and I still believe that. Beauty can be in the most simple thing. We just need to open our hearts and minds to see it.

Don’t get me wrong; every scene I witnessed in Ireland was gorgeous. I take nothing away from that. But so too is Florida … we are a lot more than a theme park.

… just a thought.