I typically run through my day at top speed, not paying attention to my surroundings unless something odd catches my eye or I crash into it. However, lately I have tried to slow down and start looking at the world around me. In doing so I have been seeing things that are memorable and make me smile. Today was the first morning when I started paying attention to my surrounds on my way to work and I saw some pretty amazing things.
As I was pulling out of my garage this morning I saw an elderly golden retriever strolling down the street unattended by a human. I paused to make sure that he made it safely across the street. I didn’t approach him because I knew that he was only one door down from his house and was simply out exploring his territory, yet seeing him idly moving along without a care in the world made me wonder what would the world be like if the world was ruled by dogs. I had the idea that it would be much calmer, more playful, and prone to long bouts of self-attention, if you catch my meaning.
As I continued down my street I saw two more dogs standing on the sidewalk appearing as if they were in deep conversation about the weather or the growth in their garden. I smiled yet again because maybe this was proof that I had in fact woken up in an alternate dog-ruled universe. Then as I looked in my rear view mirror I saw the human standing close by the dogs and man’s dominance in the world was reaffirmed.
Then as I turned off my street onto the main thoroughfare in Safety Harbor I saw a troop of Ibises rooting in the grass for their morning meal. The rising sunlight glimmered off of their white wings and gave them a softly glowing brightness. They looked like small aliens that had landed and were taking soil samples. They marched in in perfect precision as they scoured every inch of he the ground for their breakfast.
As I traveled away from the congregation of ibises I saw a lone egret standing perfectly still with one leg raised and moving its head back and forth as it was zeroing in on its target. Egrets are very beautiful and statuesque. I can’t help but grin when I see them because they seem like they would be so clumsy with their long legs, giraffe like neck and large wings, but they surprise you when they strike their prey with absolute precision, and then gracefully they take off in flight with their wings outstretched and long legs flowing behind them.
As I proceeded onto the Courtney Campbell Causeway which is a bridge across the Tampa Bay, I looked around me and saw how dead calm the water was. It’s unnerving to be driving on a small stretch of pavement at high speeds while surrounded by deep water. Unsettling as it may be, but it can also calming. On my daily commutes across the bridge I have witnessed dolphins swimming in the shallows and water birds galore flying overhead. Unfortunately I wasn’t privy to any animal sightings this morning, but I did see a young couple embracing on the beach. They stood closely together with lips touching as they watched yet another Florida sunrise. I couldn’t help but be reminded of how pure love can truly be.
As I was exiting the bridge I saw perhaps that strangest sight of my morning trip. I saw a small red balloon playing in traffic on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. There was no obvious explanation as to how it could have gotten there, but there it was softly bouncing off fenders and hoods as traffic flew by at 50 miles an hour. The cynic in me is sure that the balloon eventually got stuck under a tire and punctured, but I do hope that the little red balloon will still be bouncing away in traffic as I drive home tonight.
The rest of my journey to the office was uneventful. Yet as I pulled into my parking spaces those images still stuck in my memory and I smiled. My day began to seem a little brighter and there is a bounce in my step. I can see how paying attention to my surroundings can pay off; instead of being wrapped up in myself these small images in my surrounding help me to appreciate the life that is thriving around me.