Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Worlds within Worlds

I often think we do not take the time to really look at things. While resting on our recent holiday, I saw a flower in the distance and decided to give it a complete look. We all recognize the beauty it possesses, but with this series of photos I would like to examine the parts that go into making up that beauty. As always, click each photo for a better view.

The original flower

A closer look

Closer still

and finally worlds within worlds!

And there you have it your own personal Rorschach test, subject only to your interpretation of what you see...

And there you have it your own personal Rorschach test, subject only to your interpretation of what you see...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reptiles... Reloaded!

We loved the Alligator Farm so much, and there was still so much to see, that we returned just to focus on different types of reptiles. Only this time we decided to take our video cameras because pictures could only show so much of the dynamic movement of reptiles.

I have included a short clip of a snake from the "Reptiles of the Pacific Islands" section of the park. I love how he slowly moves along the cage and drinks from the bowl. I've never seen a snake do that!

And, a short movie on Maximus the largest salt water crocodile at the facility in his underwater tank. I feel like Steven Spielberg in that my editing is getting better. As part of the background noise you can also hear Alex asking questions of the ranger who provides a little detail of the daily life of Maximus.

Pretty cool stuff huh...?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Birds at the Alligator Farm

We went through all the alligator exhibits and there were still other things left to see. So, we settled on the alligator swamp nature trail and native bird rookery. As always click on each photo for a better view.

It seemed a perfect choice because about twenty native birds were nesting there, protected by of all things... alligators.

I particularly liked the Egrets
and was able to locate several
waiting for their eggs to hatch

This guy is just putting together his condo to try and attract a female.

These chicks probably had not been hatched for very long and appear to be learning the ropes of sunning yourself.

On the other hand these guys have gotten the sunning part down but still have not figured out it is time to leave the overcrowded nest. The noise was unbelievable as all kinds of chicks were screaming to be fed.

We found out the birds like to nest in the alligator swamp because the alligators keep away small predators like possums and raccoons that do not stop until they have eaten every egg in sight.

If you don't have a nest yet, it is still OK to just be beautiful and we had more than enough shots similar to this one. Alex and I agreed this was one of the best adventures yet.


We still had time to head for the beach and set up our little beach table for a late lunch.

Monday, May 11, 2009

JLBO... Meet Al E. Gator

Some friends told us about the alligator farm in St. Augustine. They said it was fun and we never need an excuse to visit St. Augustine, so we packed our cameras and off we went. On the drive down my thoughts kept going back to JLBO and a comment he made on an earlier post. He seemed fascinated by them so I knew he would enjoy getting a visual run down on alligators. That said, Alex came up with the title and JLBO this post is dedicated to you. As always click on each photo to get a better view.

We arrived at the site and my first thought was that it seemed small and probably only had a few alligators.

But once inside you realize the place is huge, and seems like you have actually entered the tropics or at the very least, a Florida swamp.

Huge does not come close to describing this guy. He must have weighed a ton and was just lying there sunning himself and waiting for his next meal.

They have a creek that runs under a bridge to separate the various sections. On one side were the big guys like the one above.

We watched them swim around and were just amazed at the size of these guys. Once you saw one you thought was big, another that was even bigger would swim up

To prevent the big guys using the smaller ones as food, the smaller gators have their own little beach.

There is every specie you could imagine

And even an under water observation tank where you can watch these big boys hold their breath for a lot longer than you could imagine possible.

And then came the ranger as she was getting ready to do the next show.

I realized there was a lot more to see other than alligators but we will save that for the next post. For now, lets just enjoy a bit of the show

Friday, May 8, 2009

Memories and Mothers

I was thinking about the women who helped shape my life for Mother’s Day and how I might honor them. I thought going through the family photo album might give me an idea and then it came to me: photos of photos. Some of the photos, though old and faded give off some of the dynamism of these women and it made sense to share it with you. as always click each photo for a better view.

First there is my mother's iron will

I have several photos of her but this is the one I love. I say that because we rarely think of our parents being young. This picture shows a young, carefree, country girl who has come to the city. It has none of the iron will she exhibited after getting married to find a job and make a living during the depression or later keep track of six children.

I remember her as always reassuring in that if she promised you something you could be certain she would move heaven and earth to keep that promise. It was only later in my own life that I realized this part of her character was her glory but also a huge burden once I followed the behavior.

As I look at this photo I recognize my smile and get a sense of her being very young and carefree…

Followed by my namesake

My grandmother, Mama Cherrie, was a woman among women. Whenever I think of her I always hear her high pitched sing song voice and remember her standing at the door to her house welcoming me with “Come on in… I’m so glad to see you!” and she always was.

She was Grandmother to the entire neighborhood. She knew everyone’s birthday and you did not have to be a relative. I remember as a kid living for two things during the year, my birthday and the Easter egg hunt because she orchestrated both.

She loved children but also had standards. If you were invited to dinner, despite being a child, you were expected to sit up straight at the table and provide conversation if spoken to by an adult. I remember it as a trial by fire that I always aspired to.

And finally my sense of adventure

My Godmother was the adventurous sort who inspired my desire to do the unexpected. I say that because she was a character full of contradictions. For example, she never learned to drive but could give driving directions to anywhere including the shortcuts.

I was jealous of the fact my sister had a Godmother and I did not. So, when she came to visit my mother one day I told her “You are going to be my Godmother!” And she agreed.

She made her world large by being willing to try anything and I loved her for it.

They are are all dead now but each lives on somehow in me. And this Mother's Day I will think about them and smile...