Familiar Trails

As much as we enjoyed the cruise last week, we were looking forward to getting back out on the trails at Circle B once we returned.

In all truth, having a vacation away from Florida is a bit like deliberately slumming it. We already have the world’s best vacation spot on our doorstep so taking a vacation from it sounds a little shallow.

It was a chilly start to the day yesterday but the skies above were a gorgeous blue and it would have been hard to stay away from Circle B on such a day.

The decision to go was a good one. We saw many of the old familiar faces; herons, egrets, warblers and of course several killer ospreys.

I may have mentioned this mildly before, but if there is such a thing as reincarnation, coming back as a fish in this lake would be one of the most awful options. Poor little guys had another bad day yesterday. I mean, there was a sequence where I got some great shots but I just wish everyone was a vegetarian sometimes.

One of them, I call “The Kiss of Death” … see if you can figure out which!

In any event, there is a collection of images at the end of this blog. Hope you enjoy!

The main thought for the blog came as we drove away. The level of satisfaction was very high and there was a wonderful feeling of being back among friends. So, recognizing the value of familiar trails in our life is an important part of appreciating what we have.

Yes, there is a lovely joy in getting away occasionally and I have written about that already. But the joy of returning, particularly if you are living in a good place (physically, emotionally, etc.) can be doubly so.

Recognizing that as it happens translates into appreciating the moment you are in. And that, my friends, is a critical part of happiness.

It is easy to find that appreciation of course when you are on a trail under blue skies but it doesn’t always have to be something like that. It can be as simple as sitting back in the comfort of your favorite armchair, or closing your eyes on the softness of your own pillow at night.

Find the moment wherever it happens and breathe it in. These are the moments where so much of our lives play out. It would be a shame to not recognize them when they happen.

Anyway, that was it.

… just a thought.

Escape from Reality

We just got back yesterday from a cruise to the Bahamas. It was our second anniversary and escaping for a few days seemed like the best option for celebration of our time together.

Turned out to be a lovely getaway. Yes, we could have done with it being a day less and there was a day of weather that we were less than thrilled with, but overall it was a good getaway.

We didn’t get off at the two stops but chose to stretch ourselves out across the almost-abandoned boat decks and that turned out to be the right choice for us. Being part of the shopping throngs that hit these places held no appeal for us and finding peace and quiet onboard was a true joy.

We turned our phones off and locked them away with our passports in the safe for the duration and while disaster could have happened in our real lives without our knowledge, it didn’t and somehow the world got on without us.

I have included a number of pics at the end of the blog and hope you get to check them out.

You’ll note I stayed fully clothed throughout as it wasn’t a whale watching cruise. So the speedos stayed in the closet. Mind you, there were many on board who should really rethink their height to weight ratio. I can honestly say that I was shocked at some of these people.

By the way, “fat lady in wheelchair”, having six burgers and two plates of fries at 11:30 at morning, was really unnecessary! Just because it is an all you can eat buffet, doesn’t mean you have to eat it all. And no, circling back fifteen minutes later and topping it all of with ice-cream, might be one of the reasons why your wheelchair was groaning under the weight!

OK, rant over!

Anyway, the idea for the blog really came from the whole notion of what our reality is and why every now and then we should escape from it.

Our reality varies for each one of us and rarely do we find ourselves stuck in a reality that is exactly what we want. Very few people that I know are actually “living the dream”. Most of us struggle on at least one front and some of us find the struggle to be across several fronts at the same time.

That’s why it is important to escape every now and then. It doesn’t have to be on a cruise. Sometimes it can be as simple as heading on a trail or losing yourself in a good book.

Reality is something that can absorb us more than we it and we have to be careful not to lose ourselves completely in it.

No, we don’t need to live in virtual reality either. There is an anchor that we need to have in our lives regardless of whether it is good or bad.

But like most things, it is about finding a balance that allows us to handle what we need to and close our eyes on it also when it becomes too much.

We are on the verge now of a new weekend and if you have the chance, give yourself a little something this weekend that changes your existence just a little. Breathe in a moment that makes living worthwhile and savor those around you that you can share it with.

One day, it will all be over and your last thought should not be “phew, glad that is over” but rather “that was worth living for.”

A little escape occasionally, might be the difference between the former and the latter.

… just a thought.

Time, Gentlemen, Time

It was the final day of the year and weather-wise a perfect day for a walk on the trail by Lake Hancock.

The sky above was clear-blue, and the temperature was somewhere around fifty and perfect for throwing on a jacket and taking a walk.

We got there just after eight and though there were a few people ahead of us, we didn’t care. Most of the time we were on our own, or at least, just us and some furry or feathered friends.

It was a bit too chilly for the alligators but everyone else was out and having fun. Even the moon hung around to see what was going on.

We saw most of the usual suspects plus a couple of playful raccoons, one of which walked right by us on the trail, perhaps only three feet from Inna.

The adventure finished with a distant capture of an elusive night heron, and another far-off shot of a woodpecker that was playing hide ‘n seek on one of the palm trees.

I have added a number of images as the end of the blog and I hope you enjoy.

It was later in the day as I sat down to see what I had managed to get, that the thought for the blog formed in my brain. It revolved around the notion that this was my last shoot of the year and I wondered what the new year would bring.

The more I thought about it, the more I ridiculed the notion of time. We humans invented it and beyond our mind it doesn’t really exist.

Yet we use it to measure and delineate almost everything about our lives.

It becomes the one metric by which almost everything is defined.

“How old is little Johnny now? What age was grandpa when he died? How long before we eat?”

We try to calibrate everything by it and somehow believe it to be a relevant yardstick. We have even created a word for it when something larger needs to be counted. “I will love you for all eternity. Who wants to live forever?”

Yet, unless I am sadly mistaken, most creatures in the world don’t use such a concept and they live (for however long they live) regardless of the passage of time.

For example, a Mayfly only lives 24 hours. Do we really think the passage of time is therefore a relevant metric for him? I say “him” because apparently the female Mayfly lives 5 days (she has more to get done, apparently.)

The Greenland Shark lives up to 500 years so do they puzzle about how short humans live and whether anything meaningful can be accomplished in that time?

We use time not just to define ourselves but also to define the world around us. We also use it to provide limits on each of the things we do or achieve. There is a statute of limitations on most crimes, which implies that the relevance of the crime is lost once that timeframe passes.

We even limit creativity and such with time, where patents and copyrights only last a certain number of years. (Hence Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Wilie became public domain this morning and open for us all to use as we wish.)

Time is a strange concept and one that should be taken with a grain of salt.

It’s passage is far less relevant than what we actually do with the time we are here. Forget about physical achievements or creative ownership as these will be lost over time.

All that really matters is how we use time to love and be loved, to care and be cared for.

Beyond this, we fool ourselves into believing our existence is even remotely relevant.

The most famous Mayfly ever is the one that (OK, then, go on. Finish that sentence for me.)

… just a thought.