Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Jan. 12, 2005)
A rare glimpse at nature the red-shouldered
It seemed like most people were rushing about
returning packages, attending after-holiday-sales and returning home from visiting
relatives. Traffic was dreadfully snarled. Restaurants were tied up with long,
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|A beautiful red-shouldered
hawk, posing during a perfect and rare moment.
We sought a simpler afternoon. My companion and I had both put in our eight hours
at the office, and wed shared the companionship of his daughter as we worked
while she enjoyed time away from school on holiday. Shed been most helpful
and played joyously as we worked, so we felt she deserved something better than a
crowded restaurant or a boring ride home in heavy traffic.
What would you like to do? we asked.
Go to the park, she answered emphatically. Park it is then. Off we
We packed snacks and drinks and headed for Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa with
excitement. Lettuce Lake is one of my favorite places to explore. Theres
always something exciting and new to see around each corner. The combination of
land, river, lake and 3,500-foot boardwalk offers many opportunities, not to
mention the three flight observatory that overlooks the Hillsborough River and
I want to push my dolly in my stroller.
Its a long walk but you can push your stroller until you get
tired, her father motioned her on.
The weather couldnt have been more perfect, blue sky, not too hot, not too
cold. We saw many birds such as osprey, little blue heron, tri-colored heron, white
ibis, great white heron and a bunch of silly squirrels (of course), butterflies and
spiders. We said hello to all the other children who were quietly, respectfully
observing nature and whose parents had also decided to take a turn off the beaten
path this day. Some were just out to enjoy the warmth of the sun and scent of fresh
air but some of these future naturalists were equipped with cameras or binoculars
while exploring back to nature.
The trees were mostly leafless and the water sparkled with sunlight. Through some
low brush, just above the hardwood swamp I detected movement up on our left.
Shhhhh, I cautioned and pointed. When my eyes finally focused I nearly
shouted at what I saw.
There just ahead and so close I felt we could reach out and touch him was a
beautiful red-shouldered hawk perched out of harms way, tearing at the
freshly caught flesh of his dinner. We grabbed cameras. Amazingly, for the moment,
no one else was around. We took deep breaths. Moving in silence we set up the
It was one of those special moments when we are offered a rare glimpse at nature
so close and natural that we will never forget it. He was oblivious to us and even
seemed to pose for us at times, but we know that is not true. He was in his
element. He felt comfortable that we meant him no harm. He trusted us and we
honored that trust. Satisfied that wed captured his essence digitally, we
then left him to his dinner alone.
The sun was beginning to near the horizon. Golden angles shafted through the trees
and bathed the water lilies in dappled light. As a soft breeze hung in the air, we
gently buckled the car seat and then headed out on the lone highway home dreaming
of our day away from the hustle and bustle with promises of more gentle days ahead
back to nature.
Lettuce Lake Park, (813) 987-6204. Directions: west of Tampa, take Interstate 75's
Exit 54 and travel west 0.9 mile on Fletcher Avenue. The park is on the north side
of the road.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.