Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Beautiful World - Day 10

This is the "other side" of my last post.

My business trip was a totally miserable experience. I do not wish to go into the details. I hated it. However, I have learned that even the worst experiences can often contain moments of transcendent beauty. This trip was no exception.

I was staying in a hotel in a business complex in St. Petersburg, Florida. I did not even get a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico, which is why people visit St. Pete. My hotel faced the other direction. From my room, I could see Tampa, Tampa Bay and the causeway from Tampa to St. Pete. The sunrises were amazing.

The complex has a boardwalk/walking path around and over a man-made pond. The whole area is a bird and wildlife sanctuary. I spent an hour or so a day walking around and around and around the path. I saw birds of varieties I don't see on the Atlantic coast, including a purple bird that was incredibly beautiful. Typically birds in my neighborhood or on the Daytona beaches fly away when you walk by them. That place was different. The birds owned that boardwalk. Let me tell you, sea-birds have some wicked-looking beaks. They also have very long necks. As I walked around the boardwalk, they roosted on the railings and looked at me ominously, as though I was some kind of unwelcome interloper. Having seen The Birds a time or two in my life, I'm not totally thrilled about making close-up eye contact with a wild bird with a very long neck and a four-inch beak.

In addition to the birds, I saw several varieties of turtles and one alligator.

The grasses made me sneeze. The bird-poop on the walkway was gross.

But, the cool thing for me was that, in the middle of a business and residential area there was a little island of "real Florida": birds of every imaginable type; 'gators; turtles; and, various other indigenous critters. It was lovely.

As much as I loathed and despised the experiences I had in the meetings I attended, I appreciated and cherished the opportunity to commune with nature close up and personal. Even if it was artificially created, and even if it freaked me out a lot.

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