This morning I decided I wanted to take a walk in the woods. Living in South West Florida I have a plethora of places to visit, whether it’s getting out in the woods away from civilization or simply pulling into a local park and walking their created paths or boardwalks. My decision was made to get away from all the noise; not just the physical noise from cars and people, but also the noise in my head. I go to the woods to clear my thoughts and to have a simple chat with God about what’s happening in my life. Of course I’m not alone, my camera always attends with me. I arrived at my destination at the backside of Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve off of Winkler (the very end of the road off of Summerlin). I parked, threw my camera bag over my shoulder and took off walking. The first fauna I ran across (actually he flew across) was a Piliated Woodpecker; wow, could be a promising morning.
I kept walking and as I came to the first bend, made the turn I came upon a hindrance, water! It has rained quite a bit the past couple of weeks and with all the rain we received over the summer the ground is still fairly saturated and the puddles were quite substantial and unpassable on foot, unless I wanted to get really muddy, which I didn’t so I turned around and decided to head on my straight path, but once again found the same problem, blocked by water.
I was a bit disappointed because one of my favorite spots is this short boardwalk overlooking a small pond, I had plans to sit, talk to God and decide what to do about some things going on in my immediate life. I turned around and walked back to my car and was deciding on my plan B. I mulled over a few options and decided to head over to Six Mile Cypress Slough. A small county park with a boardwalk nature trail. Arriving later than I have in the past, I wondered what wildlife I may encounter. I have never been disappointed there, and my first encounter were three little pigs (yes, the big bad wolf was missing). They were sleeping and being warmed by the sun they seemed oblivious to the multitude of folks watching them. I snapped off a few photos and kept on my way. The boardwalk was quite busy with families, older couples and photographers, so I really wasn’t alone, always someone to talk to.
As I walked I was actually looking for Water Moccasins (crazy I know, but I want to add to my photo collection). I didn’t find a Moccasin, but another patron pointed me toward a Banded Water Snake sunning himself; a non-poisonous look alike of the Cotton Mouth (Water Moccasin), not the same, but it’s a snake and I was able to get a decent photo. His eyes were quite milky and his coloring a bit dull as he was ready to shed.
Continuing on, I came across an alligator sunning himself on the floating platform in the lake and numerous birds, I was able to identify them as a Black Crowned Night Heron, White Ibis, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, and a Great Egret, however they were all too far for my lens to capture adequately, which is disappointing, but I will always have another chance on another day.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the moment of the photography, I forget why I’m taking my walk in the woods in the first place. There are some habits I have gotten into, that are causing me grief and I need to stop them and simply let them go. I also have encountered some recent issues with someone who is a friend of sorts, but still not sure where that friendship stands. Unfortunately there are control issues with someone else that I was involved with and because of that ,the friendship has now come to a standstill, not really upset over it, knew it was a matter of time. So I will let it go. Just like those birds that were slightly out of my lens reach and focus, so is this friendship, if I can’t take the photo and make it something someone wants to look at then I simply don’t take it. As with friends, if the friendship is real and strong it will come into focus in the lens of my life like so many recently have, if it is just out of lens reach then I need to take a step back, evaluate it, meter it and realize it’s probably not going to get any closer and simply turn off the camera.
2 thoughts on “A Walk in the Woods”
Always love seeing Mister Alligator!
Phil, you have some of the most amazing alligator shots I think I have ever seen. Mine pale in comparison. But I really do enjoy taking their photo, they are so mysterious and aloof.