Just one image in today’s blog; A scenic view of Lettuce Lake.
For differing reasons, we needed to escape on Sunday morning and found ourselves at Lettuce Lake just after they opened.
There was not a creature in sight for most of the visit and in truth it was the shortest time I ever spent there. I lie. High up in distant branches of a tree were a couple of small birds that flitted by so fast we barely saw them.
Adding insult to injury, it was uncomfortably hot and humid with the only saving grace being that most of the walking we did was in the shade of trees that overhang the boardwalk.
We only found the one moment that even remotely made the trip there worthwhile and this was the view from atop the structure that towers over the lake and provides some sense of the beauty that surrounds you there.
Here it is and I hope you enjoy!
This is the same place that I sprinkled some of my Dad’s ashes several years ago and so it has a meaning for me that perhaps others don’t feel.
So it did give me that one moment of solitude that I yearned for after weeks of losing battles and serious stresses.
Being able to find a moment of solitude can be instrumental in turning around the chaos in life and I hope it will be so in my case.
There are many times in our lives when all around us crumble and we seem to be facing defeat in every aspect that is important to us. If you are like me, you look for a single win to help turn the tide. Something that you can cling on to and begin a descriptive of what is happening with the phrase “at least” attached to the win.
In the absence of a win, giving yourself some respite can be a real godsend. We can’t always just cope with setbacks and defeats. There has to be a rainbow. Something that makes life worth the effort.
And if the natural rainbow of a win doesn’t come along, it is up to us to create one.
But don’t get me wrong. The rainbow doesn’t need to be a win. Simply the absence of a loss can be enough when all we are experiencing is loss after loss.
Therefore a simple moment of solitude, a small meditation, a minor comfort, can provide the color range from which we can assemble our rainbow. Looking at that picture from Lettuce Lake provided me that moment this week. It didn’t hand me a win. It didn’t create an “at least” opportunity. But it did give me enough space to just step back and regroup for the next onslaught.
It may have been a hot and humid start to the day but undeterred, by 7:30 we found ourselves driving in the entrance of Circle B. It was already 80 degrees and within a few minutes of walking, the outer body of my camera lens had condensed water from the air like you wouldn’t believe.
It was actually dripping on my hand.
Adding insult to injury, they had closed two of the trails that we normally take because it was mating season and the alligators presented too much danger to Joe Public.
But we didn’t care. The half trail that was open down as far as Lake Hancock had more than enough attraction for us and every chance of seeing several of the creatures that we always watch out for on such adventures.
There was a plethora of osprey, several egrets, and a handful of herons not to mention the sparkling gator forms that broke the surface of the warm lake waters in a gentle reminder that this was not a lake for swimming in.
We had a great time and though slightly muted in number, still managed to get some decent pics which I have attached at the end of this blog.
By the time we made it back to the car, we resembled a couple of melted wax figures and were glad of the air conditioning when the car kicked it into circulation.
It did make me pause for a moment and reflect on how anyone in their sane mind could have lived in Florida a couple of hundred years ago, or almost anywhere in the US during the summer months, for that matter.
But the more significant thought was how happy I was to be living here in this day and age and the purpose it has given my life.
Truth be told, I have several purposes in life but when you are taking a beating and feel really low in how life is roughing you up, finding purpose in the natural world that Florida places on my doorstep is revitalizing and restoring.
And therein lies the thought for today’s blog.
You see, we often lose track of what is important to us, what value we bring, and what our lives are all about. We take such a beating with issues to where we forget what the “good” parts of our lives are about. It is all-consuming to get lost in dealing with life’s issues and they cloud our view on the rest of our lives.
For my part, when life plays its little games with me, I put the camera to one side and let the trails go cold, all while I chase a solution to whatever ills me at that moment.
But it is important and I would argue important at all times, to remind ourselves what is important to us in our lives and make sure we are recognizing it as such. Recognizing the importance allows us to prioritize it and make sure that regardless of what else is happening, that it does not fall entirely by the wayside.
Yes, there are times when “all hands to the pumps” requires us to do what needs to be done rather than what we want to do. This is just a fact of life. But when we find ourselves doing only that which needs to be done and doing so for a sustained period of time, our lives can lose their purpose.
Whatever life’s purpose turns out to be for each of us, this is where we count the final score in how we have lived our lives. The rest is just a distraction and certainly not what we value in our final tabulation of the life we have led.
I know that I often refer to end of life, lying in our deathbed, or drawing our terminal breath. And I don’t do so from a morbid perspective, only trying to show that there is a finite line in our life and the most accurate measure of our life occurs at that moment when we cross the line.
To have crossed that line having fulfilled our purpose is a huge bonus as regrets don’t translate well once we reach that final destination.
There are no happy nature pictures in this blog. Only four pictures that I took early morning yesterday on a shopping center in Miami.
I got there just after sunrise and while the first homeless guy had already left for the day, the place was rife with signs of those who slept rough there the night before.
Firstly. the irony of this moment wasn’t lost on me as the sleeping conditions of some poor soul sat in stark comparison to the luxury just inside the window beside him.
As sad as this made me, things got sadder when I rounded a corner on the building later and there was a poor guy still sleeping while the center opened up for business.
Forget about the number of holes in his sock. Forget about the shirt being used as a make-shift pillow on a concrete sidewalk. Forget about the abject filth of his pants. And before you wonder “what he is hooked on” think back to when he was a baby. Somebody’s baby.
Then think back further to when he was in the womb and brought into a world where red politicians insist on “protecting the unborn” and damning all those that believe otherwise.
Where are those same people in protecting those that are actually born. Fuck the unborn. How about the poor and indigent? Are these not living beings? Or is it that once you drop out of your mother’s vagina that you are on your own?
America is the best country in the world to be rich in. Your freedoms are un shackled and the world is your oyster. If you aren’t rich, understand that there will be some challenges ahead and if you can’t deal with them, tough luck. Jesus only cares about you before you travel the alimentary canal.
Why should there be even one person living rough in the richest country in the world?
Why is the country’s greatest wealth owned by a tiny few while hundreds of thousands across the country haven’t even got a roof over their head?
Did you know that Florida has approximately 26,000 homeless people? And almost 12,000 of those are described by the state as “unsheltered” … meaning they sleep rough on the streets like this poor guy.
“Go out and get a job”
“Quit your addictions”
“Become a useful member of society”
How many righteous people do you know who will adopt one of those positions when you hit them with these numbers. Of course they understand that not everyone is capable of functioning “properly” as we call it. But they still don’t tolerate it or help reverse it.
“Why should some of my tax dollars be spent on these misfits? My money needs to go to the armaments manufacturers and defense contractors.”
They see a logic in their thoughts that I don’t and yet they will fight tooth and nail if you suggest that a ten year old in Ohio should be allowed to have an abortion because she was raped by her uncle. “Save the babies for jesus”
My sadness yesterday was compounded with the more and more remnants of overnight beds that were spread around the back of the shopping center but it turned into anger when I came around the far side of the property.
There were a number of stores that were for lease and you could tell the community was suffering and unable to support many of the small businesses that once occupied the stores. And there outside the empty stores was a stunning pontiac solstice convertible. It is worth at least $65,000 and maybe $85,000 depending on what year it was. Its owner?
The guy who owns the pawn store. Wonder where he got that money from. You don’t think it had anything to do with fleecing the poor natives, do you?
Sickened, I drove home after a few hours on the property. I got to sign a petition that some lady was pushing about telling DeSantis to keep his hands off women’s bodies. At least something good came of the day.
I wish that people were just a little more kind. I am tired of the bad guys always doing well.
For a bird-person, the trip to Circle B was like heaven. There were so many of our feathered friends there that it was impossible to shoot them all or to even take in what was happening all about you.
We needed 360 degree vision to even attempt to witness all the activities and though we tried our best, I am sure we missed a huge portion of what was on display.
There were sounds everywhere too. Chirps, croaks, growls; mostly hidden perpetrators that just wanted to make noise but not willing to be seen.
We got lost in the heron souffle that erupted all along Marsh Rabbit Run, in particular. There were great blues, little blues, green, tricolor and night herons and egrets (yes they are cousins to the herons) and my camera shutter would have repeatedly broken the silence if there had been any.
Yes, there was a whole range of creatures from gators to rabbits. But our mind was awashed with repeated heron encounters. So, by the time we came across the great blue heron nest we already felt saturated. But we needn’t have been. At that stage we witnessed something neither of us had seen before.
You see, there had been two siblings there for a while and we had seen them on the last visit and wondered when they would be strong enough to leave the nest.
When you have shot as many herons as I have, you get to the point that you mistakenly feel you have seen it all. But you never have. I even saw one do a one-legged hand-stand lol
Anyway the images are the end of the blog and I hope you enjoy!
It was just after the sibling scene that the thought for today’s blog hit me. I walked away humming the tune to The Hollies hit, “He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother” and it brought into focus a trait in humanity that is waning and fading into obscurity.
Empathy and sympathy for our fellow man was never a strong-suit of humanity. For millennia we have been quick to isolate ourselves from each other by sex, race, creed, and nationality. And this isolation has allowed us to view others as “them” and therefore not one of “us”.
Once we do that, we can take it to the extreme of hatred and discrimination. Just look at what the Klan, right-wing nationalists, and the supreme court do and you’ll see what I mean.
But my main point is one the other end of the scale. The end where passive indifference lives happily behind its white-picket fence and just changes the channel when it sees something that makes it uncomfortable.
There are some that still think that the opposite of love is hate but the true opposite is apathy and when we allow apathy into our lives in a single regard, it creeps throughout our conscience and mutes our sensitivities to the pain of others.
The others here can be simply someone we don’t like or agree with, but quickly extends to our fellow man, and ultimately to all living creatures.
We become the silent majority. A majority that becomes blindly indifferent to what is going on about them. A majority that becomes inwardly focused and allows poverty, pain, and destruction to thrive at the behest of those actively causing it for whatever their own purpose is. Their greed, wants, demands, become driving forces that shape our policies, our lives, our environment and though we may initially be aggrieved, we just change the channel and amuse ourselves with something less bothersome.
I could direct this thought at how we allow discrimination and intolerance to dominate humanity, as indeed it does. But, in truth, it is our apathetic view to environment and the creatures that we share the world with, that really bothers me most.
Voices on the far left decry our treatment of the planet and the destruction of environments but the majority of us pretend not to see it. We drive by roadkill and other than trying to avoid getting any of it caught in our tires, we give it little thought. We never ask about the depleted environment that makes these poor creatures take their lives in their hands and cross a traffic-laden road.
No, we drive home and if we do think about the squished turtle or crushed possum that we saw, it is only softened by the excuse that “at least it wasn’t me that killed him.”
Why is it unusual that I habitually put out food every day for visiting creatures? Why isn’t that the norm? When I say that to people, I often hear “you are wonderful for doing that!” But “wonderful” isn’t me at all. I am barely a decent person. What about all of you who are decent people? Why aren’t you stepping up and taking care of the little bit of the natural world that you come into contact with?
That this isn’t the norm is a clear statement of how far our norm has drifted away from where it should be.
We are not responsible for every creature on the planet. But we certainly have some responsibility to those that are impacted by our activities.
While some of us narrow our definition of the word “brother” to someone who accidentally fell out of our mother’s vagina beside us, we would be better served to understand that all living creatures are our brothers and regardless of how inconvenient it may be to help take care of him, he is never too heavy to do so. Even great blue herons know that one!
… just a thought.
(P.S. brother is a euphemism for everyone, regardless of sex .. before anyone thinks this blog is only for the boys!)