There is no feeling in the world better than those brief moments when you experience something truly new in your life. Just think back to the very moment you saw your son or daughter born. Was that something or what?
That first breath they took, the first look they gave you — these are moments that stand out in your memory with such clarity that it could have been yesterday. But the beauty of these eye-opening experiences are right in front of your nose every single day. That is, if you choose to see them.
I realize not everyone is that observant.
With all the distractions life bring,along like cell phones, car radios and such, I guess it’s easy to let a lot of the little things slide right on by.
A couple of recent examples happened in just the last week.
The first one occurred when I was on the Cross Island Expressway on Hilton Head. I was just about at the bridge that goes over Broad Creek when a osprey with a fish in its talons came screaming across the road just ahead of me.
Right on his tail was a full grown bald eagle that had every intention of taking that fish away from the osprey. Twisting and turning, the two of them showed aerobatic skills any jet pilot would envy. Though it only lasted seconds, I don’t think I will ever forget that blink in time when I looked at the driver in the car next to me and he gave no indication that he had seen the incredibly beautiful drama that had just unfolded.
Then, on my anniversary, my wife Karen and I went up Bull Creek to get out in this beautiful spring weather and no sooner had I pointed out a spot where I have often seen strand feeding dolphins —something she had never seen — when two dolphin began strand feeding fifty yards from us.
They would herd mullet up onto a large, gently sloping mud flat and then shoot themselves completely out of the water and right up onto the bank where they would eat the flopping mullet before they wiggled their way back into the water.
That was on the right bank and, at that very same instant, Karen noticed two large pink birds picking their way along the water’s edge. In her usual, humorous manner she said “ is it me or are those birds pink?”
They were pink alright, and immediately I recognized them as roseate spoonbills, usually only seen down around southern Florida. In the space of five minutes we witnessed strand-feeding porpoises on one side of us and roseate spoonbills on the other bank. The kicker to this story was there was a boat full of people anchored nearby and it appeared that not a one of them saw either phenomenon, even though they were less than 160 yards from both scenes. Amazing.
Maybe I’m biased because I am an avid watcher, but it just seems like so many people go through life in a daze and in the process miss out on some pretty amazing stuff.
“Daze” is probably a bit snooty a description for these people, because the cause is probably the simple fact that they were never encouraged to watch.
My dad and mom raised us to look around, to see and to question. Then when I was really drawn into fishing and hunting, that just seemed to tune my senses. Now I always find myself looking for subtle dramas in nature that often occur in just the blink of an eye.
It was a good week for me other than going to see my proctologist. I always chuckle when I try and imagine being in grade school and the teacher asks you “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I wanna be a proctologist Mrs. Finewrinkle.”
With that fantasy behind me (literally), I actually went looking for some redfish on the flats. The tides were perfect, so I went to one of my best low water spots. As I waited on the tides, and hopefully some reds, I wondered if all the new flats fishing boats had found my spot and cleaned it out of the redfish I had caught and released for years and years.
No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than I latched into a big red in mere inches of water. Since I don’t target these fish much anymore, I was awed by its power as it screamed across the shallow flats sending out a wake like a submarine on the surface.
In the next hour or so I managed to catch more reds, all too big to keep, plus a couple of decent sized trout.
The fact that my fish were still there made me appreciate our piece of heaven here just that much more.
Even if it is for just a day, try looking around as you go through life.
Look up in the air, at the water and just basically try to sharpen the art of seeing. Once you get the hang of it you’ll never again see this planet the same way. Whether the event you see lasts seconds or minutes.