Tourist’s Eyes

In Early June, my family and I visited Japan. Somewhere in between Day 1 and Day 5, my camera was filled with images of nature. The indigenous hydrangeas were a pleasant surprise. The countryside was a vibrant green. However, my camera also included lots of trees. A few of the trees were Palms. That’s when I realized I was out of control. As a Florida resident, I see Palm trees all of the time. But these trees seemed special.

They appeared different because they were thousands of miles and an ocean away from my home. They were distinct because I was on vacation. I wondered if I could re-vision my own Florida city as a tourist. By the time we returned home, I’d decided to try it. And I’m glad that I did.

Being a tourist meant I stopped what I was doing. Got my camera. And snapped several photos. First I began to shoot flora and fauna, like I did when I was on vacay. It wasn’t as exciting until I noticed Florida’s birds.

As I documented them, I also learned the names. You see. I’m no ornithologist. Before this new perspective taking, I didn’t even know what to call half of the birds that lived around me. I couldn’t tell the difference between a duck and a goose. In fact, I saw a turkey one day and had to enlist Facebook’s opinion cause it looked so strange and out of place. One of my blogger buddies had to tell me the bird I saw nesting at Target was an Osprey. Okay. You get the point. I didn’t know birds.

But I do now.

For example, this is a Great Egret. I captured a photo when I entered my apartment complex.

Image. © 2015. K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.

My tourist’s perspective helped me to pay more attention to the birds that I’d noticed around the pond right outside of my door. Instead of stopping Rascal from barking at and chasing the ducks geese on our morning walk, I’ve started to observe more. Depending on the time of day, you can see an Anhinga swimming under the water. Apparently, they search for fish that way. Every now and then, it stretches its long neck out for air and then dips back under.

During the afternoon, Mottled ducks swim around and rest on the side.

Image. © 2015. K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.
Image. © 2015. K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.
Image. ©2015 K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.
Image. ©2015 K E Garland. All Rights Reserved.

In the evening, white Ibis leave the pond’s edge to forage for food under a Magnolia tree.

I don’t regret not recognizing these beautiful birds before now. But I am grateful that I could see life through a tourist’s eyes in order to gain a new sense of appreciation for them and my surroundings. What might you see if you viewed your city as a tourist?