My Return to Nature

After a stormy summer night and morning, acting on the spur of the moment, and hoping against hope for better weather, I drove into the deserted park and wound my way around to the parking lot to meet my Audubon guide and re-enter the world of birding I’d left behind ten or more years ago. There were grassy puddles everywhere, a gray on gray sky and I was  armed with slicker, visor, bug spray and binoculars. No one but the guide and I showed up.

With an eagerness that just barely outweighed my fear of impending storms, I followed her to a marshy pond alive with frog sounds. Grunts, chirps and everything in between filled the air. And then a peacock, far off, cardinals and wrens – a gallinule or coot, invisible in the reeds. The original sound-surround.

PIcking our way through the swampy trail, she pointed out blackberry and buttonbush. There were butterflies and dragonflies – the dragonflies with wafer-thin wings of aquamarine, ruby and mother of pearl. Now the sun was breaking through, smiling thinly on all the tangled loveliness. I felt like Eve in the Garden.

yellow buttfly blk bkgrd

Soon we came to a tree and pointed our lenses at movement—three downy woodpeckers: mom, dad, and little one begging. And then herons–green and yellow-crested, cormorants and ibis and grackles, redwinged blackbirds flashing their epaulets in the ever-strengthening sun, egrets and a lone gull.

On our path of wet, fallen leaves I saw a tiny hopping movement and was delighted to find a Lilliputian toad, only an inch from stem to stern, looking more like a dead leaf than a toady. She sat stock-still while we admired her petite beauty.

On our way back, my guide discovered a small striped snake, buff and black, who we followed until he glided gracefully into the underbrush, smooth in movement, strangely disjointed in repose, like a skinny bag of bones.

And last but not least, we heard, then saw, two Carolina wrens, ordinary-looking little birds with extraordinarily beautiful voices.

As we turned back to the parking lot I felt tired, grubby, damp, hungry and happy to be back out in the world I love best.


About boomergirl47

Retired from the University of South Florida. Love reading, writing, hiking, nature, music, birding, puttering around the house and yard.
This entry was posted in human interest, nature, spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Return to Nature

  1. David Henry says:

    Cece, you are a good writer. If you have more of the same in you, maybe you could offer to write a weekly column for the Times or the Trib?


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