Seeing for the First Time

Grab a glass of wine or whatever and join me on a journey of seeing for the first time.

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I love Art. I can look at Michelangelo’s David all day long. Well who couldn’t? I mean just look at the guy. He is something. I wonder what the people who saw it for the first time thought? There is no Internet, photography, newspapers to spread the work of this piece of art work. It was finished and put into place and people came around are viewed it for themselves firsthand. This was a nude young man standing holding a stone. Nothing spectacular until you actually looked at this piece. Suddenly, you see a young man carved in stone. His body relaxed and frozen in a hardness forever; marble was chosen showing shadows across muscles and features that you would have never paid attention to before. Marble is smooth and soft that makes you just want to run your hand across a shoulder, arm or leg to feel just how soft and smooth, and yet if you were to touch this piece you would feel how cold and lifeless it is. Seeing this piece for the first time would be an awesome experience.

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Van Gogh is another great artist that seeing his art for the first time blew me away. Finally, understand how violent of a painter he was. The amount of paint in just one painting, it must have taken a month to dry properly.  The lines you see in a painting are actually hills and valleys of paint. He painted in 3D and was way ahead of his time.

I use these examples because this week I had the privilege of seeing nature for the first time. I was invited to attend a tour by Archeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours. Rebecca Smith and Gallus Quigley are both expert guides for bird and nature tours.  I have been on hundreds of nature tours before and walked through nature trails. I have never seen a quarter of the things I saw then as I saw on this one tour. It is amazing what you can see when you are with someone that knows what to look for and what to point out.

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We met at the Natural Wildlife Refuge in Merritt Island Florida. And with a group of about ten we started the morning out with a treat from NASA of a launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It was just by luck they launched right before 9 AM and we were able to see the launch and had one of the best viewing spots. The roar of the engines could be heard and the glow of the trail could be seen for a long while. The wildlife in the area isn’t bothered with such things. They keep going on as if there is nothing to see over in that area just a few miles from where they are.


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Rebecca Smith’s photo was so much better than my actual photo of the painted bunting I used her photo for this blog, so you could all see just how beautiful this bird is. 

Shortly after arriving and greeting everyone, we started right away looking for a painted bunting, which we found quickly. He was a treat seeing in all of his color and glory. If that wasn’t enough we continued on with the day seeing close to seventy different species of birds, butterflies, and different plants growing in the wild including vanilla. How many times have you been out walking around on a nature trail and walked by vanilla growing wild and never knew that you had just passed by such a great find.

The Roseate spoonbill was one of my favorites we got to see. Pink like a flamingo, due to their diet, they stand out in the environment painting color across the sky and in the brush. They hang out with White Pelican birds. So with the pink, white, and a splash of dramatic black thrown in there, it really is a painting worth seeing.

We drove around the park for about nine miles or so. We stopped and got out and walked some, nothing that anyone can’t handle. The group of birds in the tree are Boat-tailed Grackle, who knew? There was a guide in every car which made it fantastic for everyone that was there. The way the environment changes and the way the eco system works is amazing and is something you don’t see unless it is pointed out to you by someone trained. Who knew there were so many different types of ducks out there with their butts in the air like they just don’t care? We even got to see a huge alligator that wasn’t interested in seeing us at all, which was fine by me, but seeing this magnificent reptile in it’s natural environment is a treat.

“Put your butts in the air like you just don’t care!” The good stuff is always at the bottom of the pot – everyone knows that….

There were so many different species of birds that by the end of the day my mind was just too full at the moment to take another one in. At that precise moment the tour actually came to a close and we all drove to a local restaurant to eat, socialize, and have a drink or two. A perfect end to a perfect day! I came home and started right away downloading photos and naming the birds so that I would not forget. I did forget some, but that is ok, because all I had to do was send the photo right to Rebecca who responded within minutes telling me the names of my birds.

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Green Heron 
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The very shy, so we are told, Belted Kingfisher

Any-who, I totally recommend taking a tour or even consider going on a trip with them, they do trips all around the US and overseas as well. Each trip is a small group with a total of a dozen people tops. They will make the trip to fit what you want. So birds, nature, history, whatever fits you the best is what they will do.

If you are interested you can reach out to them on Facebook, or me either way and we can set up a tour for you! Travel shouldn’t be just about cruising, or history, include nature in with your travels and at the end of the day when you sit back with that drink in your hand it will taste so much more rewarding.


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