It’s amazing how being around people you’re not usually around can expand your horizons. Recently, I looked out at the horizon with visitors from Oregon. We went on a walk in the woods (it’s hard to call it a “hike” in Florida), and they were ooh-ing and ahh-ing and pointing out birds that I grew up seeing. Embarrassingly enough, when they asked, “What kind of bird is that?” I just replied with, “Hmm, great question. I should know.”
It was the ibis. They’re white birds with orange beaks and a patch of black feathers under their wings. They frequent the neighborhood my parents live in. But when put on the spot, I had no idea what they were called.
The dear Oregonians noticed every osprey nest that I walked past as I was swatting at mosquitoes. This piebald bird is one of my dad’s favorites, so I was used to this one. But the last time I stopped to look closely at an osprey was at the little league fields about twenty years ago. What a shame.
Our visitors left a couple days later and on my drive to work the next morning, I noticed nest after nest of ospreys eating their fish, living up to their other name: the fish hawk. I noticed ibis galore on the shore. I was amazed. The coolest part is that the piebald ospreys and their friends have been there this whole time, I just needed the new perspective to care enough to take it all in. That’s why being on the road and meeting new people results in new wonders daily. It’s so energizing and refreshing. A breath of fresh air, really.