Final Blog

It was a really foggy start to the day and long before it burned off and gave us some blue skies yesterday, we went down to Circle B onto the Marsh Rabbit Run trail.

Our timing was perfect, because we got there before most people and were out of there before all the Sunday crowd hit.

While the images I got don’t have the normal blue sky feel to them, I did manage to get a few decent shots. Apart from all the usual suspects, there was a gorgeous Painted Bunting (that’s a rare sighting for me!), a distant shot of a bald eagle, and some Tilapia drinking in some carbonated air.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. They are at the end of this note.

This is my final blog and while I will occasionally add some trail images here, I won’t attempt any more of my dumb thoughts that get inspired by them. I am withdrawing from much of life as I have done a lot of self reflection lately and don’t like what I see.

Stay safe and enjoy the trails.



I got to finally show off my favorite trail to one of my favorite peeps yesterday! Jax and her daughters accompanied me on an early morning trail at Circle B that took us down by Lake Hancock.

It was a perfect day made more perfect (a conflicting absolute) by the company I had with me. Apart from just seriously enjoying the company, they also had me look at things in a slightly different way, stopping along the way looking as insects that I had already passed out, plants that were seeding, and examining the minutia of fallen seeds that glistened on the green-leafed waters.

We had a wonderful time and got to see lots of the familiar faces along the way. Herons, Ospreys, Hawks, Gators, Egrets, etc. They were all out in numbers and there was one moment in particular where everywhere around us, someone was taking off or splashing in the water. The senses went into overload.

Anyway I took a bunch of images and have attached most of them to the end of this blog. I say “most” because there was one sequence I shot of a hawk that I will hold for a separate blog over the coming days. Stay tuned!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

The thought for the blog today actually came from circumstances around myself. We all look for things that make us special or make something about us special. It helps us feel a little more significant than we actually are.

I was born under a full moon on March 16th. So, I often say that one day later and they would have called me Patrick.

Then today I realized that a day sooner and I would have been born on the Ides of March. Which is kinda cool. I am sandwiched between two very important days in the calendar and given a bonus of a full moon, even.

Wouldn’t you think that would make you special?

Unfortunately I am just a nobody and despite all these possibilities to have become someone, I managed to make sure that I didn’t.

I remember that old movie sequence where Marlon Brando moans that he “coulda been someone. Coulda been a contender.”

And it is reasonable to moan at ourselves about things we did wrong or opportunities missed, or plans that came out badly. There is a realization attached to those actions that involves self-examination and that is always a good thing.

Sometimes though it is important to realize that not everyone can be a somebody. Being a nobody is not the worst thing to ever happen to someone.

Not everyone can be a contender!

… just a thought.


The clock went forward yesterday and almost everyone in the country had to adjust their day to allow for the missing hour. But as I hadn’t told the cats about the clock change when it went back initially, I got to lie in an extra hour and still arrive over to take care of them at what they feel is the same time 🙂

Smart, huh?

Not really but at least for the next six months or whatever, I will be letting them out at six instead of five and they will all be none the wiser (unless they read this blog, of course!)

The significant other benefit of the clock going forward was that everyone chose to lie in and they left the trail to Inna and me and we took full advantage and several times had it all to ourselves. It was only as we were leaving that the cars really began to arrive and by them we had already savored our morning alone with nature.

It was a wonderful visit and at that time many of the birds are out hunting for breakfast and many of the fish are saying goodbye to their families for the last time.

I know I have said it before but I WOULD HATE TO BE A FISH at Circle B. The poor babies have no chance. I had to walk away from one of the sequences I was shooting of a Great Blue with a fish because it was so savage I just couldn’t watch any more. He was repeatedly spearing the fish with his beak and the sounds where really upsetting.

But we love Great Blues and I don’t hold it against them. I just wish the whole world was vegetarian, sometimes.

Anyway I got a whole bunch of decent pics and have attached them at the end of this blog.

The initial few which are silhouette were of a Great Blue that was gathering small branches for a nest he was building. That was so cool to see.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

The thought for today’s blog came from the whole time and clock concept of the day that was in it.

I have wondered for a long time why humans put themselves through this whole clock-change thing and in today’s world, at least, it is a seriously stupid difficulty that we set ourselves.

But that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.

It is the whole notion of time and how we use it, that really played around in my head yesterday. I mean, I was kinda proud of myself that I didn’t get saddled with the whole clock-change thing from yesterday and even more proud that I used the time well.

When faced with time possibilities, there is a wide range of how it is used by us humans that seems quite distinctly different from the rest of the animals … at least those that live in the wild.

There is an appreciation for time that animals seem to share that is sorely lacking in the human race. I think a big part of that is that every day they have to do things in order to eat.

They don’t have a pantry and fridge stocked with food, or a bank account and debit card that allows them to pay for stuff even when they have done nothing to earn it that particular day.

If they don’t earn it that day, they don’t eat. Simple as that.

But we have found a way to manipulate time to create this thing called leisure time and while on the surface, that sounds like a good part of being human, the bad part is that not everyone has access to the same leisure time pool.

Other than the self-made few, most rich people that have a life of leisure are born into it. And they had no part at all in earning it. They just slid out of a vagina onto a surface and if they were lucky, the surface was a luxury soft warm spot in Beverly Hills. If unlucky it was a pile of dirt in Sub-Saharan Africa.

When we don’t earn something, we have no true appreciation of it. Those with these riches, flaunt it, abuse it, accumulate more, and then judge those that don’t. As if somehow their wealth makes them a better person than the poor guy living in a box in a back alley.

Who we are is a function of what we do with our time on this planet. You can be a real estate mogul with your name plastered on the skyscrapers you own, but if your use of time is all about you, then you are a worthless piece of scum and are stealing the air from people who deserve to be breathing it.

Narcissistic assholes rarely see themselves as that and they see their time accruing more wealth to surround themselves as good use of their time. But the real truth is that they are simply parasites on a planet that struggles under the weight of all the parasites that bleed it every day.

Our allocation of time is unknown. We don’t know how much we have and when it will run out. So, continually using it as a source of leisure is poor use of a precious resource. When we use the time to enrich the life experience of those we love, or the creatures that we share this time with, then we are respecting the value of time and the importance of the contribution that we can make.

So, the simple question that we should ask ourselves each day is what did we do today that earned our right to be here? If you can’t answer that occasionally, don’t worry; we all have off days. But if you can’t answer that question in a positive manner repeatedly, then Walmart sells a lovely straight-edge razor blade for just $14.95. Grab one while you run a bath.

… just a thought!


It was an absolutely gorgeous Sunday and we couldn’t resist taking a trip to one of the trails at Circle B. I had delayed the day watching Wolves playing their game, so unfortunately it was around noon when we went there.

That translated into a million other trail-goers there already and there wasn’t a parking spot to be had in the main areas. People were parked on grass and by the side of the road and it was chaotic even looking for a space.

When we finally did park in an auxiliary lot and took the trail that brought us down by the lake, there were crowds everywhere and I really questioned the sanity of going there at such a time.

Not just was it a perfect day, but it was a Sunday, and all the snowbirds are still in town so it was the perfect storm in terms of crowd abundance. Part of me wanted to just leave but the other part of me decided to try to shut them out and just take in what I could.

As we walked the trail it became obvious that the creatures that live there had largely moved deeper into the land and water away from the trail itself. Clearly the number of people was overwhelming for them too.

It wasn’t just the number of people but the incessant talking and occasional screaming child that seemed to have an adverse effect on the normal tranquility of the place.

I found myself getting more and more hostile towards these Sunday-trippers and their blatant disconnect from the natural world they were trampling over.

I finally lost it when I came across this big guy who had a drone and was flying it near the trees. I screamed at him in front of everyone and told him that he was not allowed to use a drone here. I raged about the stress it was causing the animals and though nobody supported my assertions, he took it down and apologized.

I was galled at his lack of consideration of the creatures that would be affected by what he was doing and that he hadn’t thought of that at all became the subject for today’s blog.

By the way, I have put a number of images from the trail at the end of the blog and I hope you enjoy.

Anyway, I said that “he hadn’t thought of” and that was giving him the benefit of the doubt. But I no longer am giving him that benefit. I think he knew full-well. He just didn’t care. What he wanted superseded the stress on the creatures around him.

As extreme an example as this was, it reminded me of the incident a few months back where people were throwing sticks at a mommy alligator in order to get her to move away from her babies. So, extreme apathy does exist among these people.

But not only the extreme, the general noisiness and presence of large numbers of people in their home must have been upsetting to the animals. The fact that there was a noticeable distance taken by many of them from the trail is a clear indication that this was so.

Humans may not be the only selfish creatures on the planet but because of our numbers and our dominance, our selfishness has a dramatic effect on the world that the rest of the animal kingdom live in. We devastate their natural environment with little thought and only when they become extinct do we even think about it.

And even then our concern is minimal and even a source of amusement. For example look at the Dodo bird which went extinct back in the late 17th century, we comfortably transitioned it into a cause for comedy and degradation of the species. “Dumb as a Dodo” became a catch phrase and we characterized the species as a “dumb bird” because (wait for it) they were too comfortable around humans to survive. So we hunted them into extinction.

Aren’t we so fucking smart?

Most of us that are critical of humanity look on it as a scourge on the planet and though I have repeatedly hoped that one day our apparent intelligence would help us navigate a turn around to where we save the planet, I see no hope that we will do so.

Our own selfishness supersedes all.

That is the unfortunate reality and once we become extinct and the planet recovers, somewhere in the future someone will look at our fossilized remains and talk about how dumb we were.

… just a thought.


Our favorite trails screamed out at us the other day. It was just a perfect afternoon and we both needed to escape the madness of what we were stuck in.

Technically speaking we should both have been taking care of business but sometimes you have to take care of your state of mind too. And we chose the latter.

We spotted an armadillo when we were just entering the reserve and it was so strange to find him out rummaging at that time of the day. We spotted the usual feathered characters along with a few baby gators hiding in the grass, trying to be invisible to those larger than they.

It was a lovely walk and once again, difficult to imagine a better day. As we finished, we even spotted an almost full moon hanging in the sky as a plane flew overhead.

I’ve put some images at the end of the blog and hopefully you get a chance to check them out.

It was the moon shot after we came away from the reserve that formed the thought for this blog. I reflected on why I am always drawn to the moon and even though I don’t howl at it, in my mind I have done so on a few desperate occasions.

The whole concept of lunacy obviously stems from a belief that the full moon caused certain strange behaviors in us humans and I can go along with that. The fact that I was born on a full moon is likely a root cause of my being so unhinged at times.

But it is really a behavior rather than a word that makes me think we are all lunatic to a certain degree. Each of us have had moments where logic has left the building and we have behaved in a way that would make us later question our sanity.

In the old days, they often used the word lunatic to describe what “they” considered aberrant behavior and sometimes took drastic steps (such as lobotomy) to “normalize” a person. Man’s cruelty knows no bounds and while we might shudder now at the thought of ever doing such a thing to anyone, we still use other mechanisms to deal with people that we consider abnormal.

We may socially isolate them, or judge them, deny them work, rights, or pleasure, all because they don’t behave in the way we consider normal. And yet, the definition of normal itself varies over time, over geography, and societal drift.

Being gay is not normal in many parts of the world. Or promiscuous, or a nudist, or a drifter, a non-conformist, a vegetarian, a non-believer.

In fact, those that judge and isolate tend to do it to anyone that doesn’t fit their version of cookie-cutter lifestyle.

These people tend to be quite vocal and when we allow these people to be entitled to run with their definitions of normal, laws get made, doors get closed, rights get stripped away.

One day we politely smile when some idiot is pro-life (but only for babies and not gun-shot victims) and then one day we wake up and some of those morons have passed a law that says a woman has no right to choose what happens to her body and an embryo is a child.

When we allow these imbeciles to redefine normal to the point where it is only their views that count, then those of us that believe in something different become abnormal and unacceptable.

That in itself is the real definition of lunacy.

… just a thought.


I typed the whole fucking blog, it wouldn’t save and when I tried to select copy on the text, I mistakenly hit paste. Then undo failed .. .so I lost everything.

It’s funny really, the whole blog I wrote was about how pathetically flawed I am and then I proceed to fuck this one up too.

Enjoy the pictures … I am outta here.

All Creatures Great and Small

It was a last minutes decision. The day was perfect weather with mostly blue skies and a temperature that couldn’t have been dialed-up any better.

Circle B on our doorstep is a temptation at the best of times, so given the weather outside, it was a no brainer.

We took the trail down Marsh Rabbit Run and got to see all the usual suspects in all different sizes. Herons, Anhingas, Osprey and Hawks, were in abundance, as well as a number of really large Alligators and one or two babies.

I caught the sun disappearing behind a small cloud at one point and was thrilled to be able to stare up at it without fear of going blind.

True to form, it proved a bad day to be a fish, once again. Felt really sorry for the poor catfish that delivered some technically great shots, right in his final moments. Poor little guy.

Anyway, they are at the end of this blog. Hope you enjoy.

The variety of wildlife at places like Circle B played into my thoughts this morning as I sat down to think of the blog.

Everyone there has their place in the order of things. And nobody seems too bothered at how bad life is or how many wishes they have for a better one. They just breathe in their moment for as long as it lasts, knowing that they don’t have too much say in when that moment might end.

They do their best with what they have. Bring in new life when they can and give up theirs when they have to. They care, feel, probably even love, and they build their lives to be what they are, with the skills and characteristics that allow them to do so.

They aspire only to fill their potential and not to be what they aren’t.

It is highly unlikely that they spend a lot of time thinking about their next life or even their next day, for that matter.

I doubt that they take for granted that there will even be a next day.

They live in their moment.

We can learn an awful lot from animals, you know.

… just a thought.

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.