Being a nature nerd from way back, I have evolved my hobbies to include gadgets, books, phone applications, special camera lenses, this list goes on. You name it and I have it or at least know about it. When the quarantine was implemented and parks closed, like many others, I started wondering what I was going to do to pass the time. I live near downtown Miami (yes, I commute to Boca Raton), so I have limited access to parks in my immediate neighborhood. During the stay at home order, I worked on my stack of half read books, finished a 1,000-piece puzzle, and caught up with friends and family over Zoom. However, after a while, that wasn’t enough. People need nature, open-spaces, and fresh air.
I always walk my dogs around the block, but this time I decided to look for different things in my urban neighborhood. Instead of noticing buildings, cars, and people, I started looking for things I look for when at a park and in Gumbo Limbo’s butterfly garden and boardwalk. When I started focusing on the trees and scraggly weeds lining my street, I began noticing things I never knew were there before. For the first time I noticed a zebra longwing float past me while walking down the sidewalk. I noticed bees feeding on the nectar of weeds growing next to the sidewalk. I saw species of birds that I had no idea lived in the city. How could this be? Me, the nature nerd, never noticed these things in the hustle and bustle of a city, never looking outside of a park atmosphere for the beautifully wild and natural world.
Even us “pros” need a reminder to get back to the basics and take a moment to notice that we are surrounded by nature. Though it is nice to be able to visit parks again, I have a new appreciation for those scraggly weeds.
Photo credit: Brown Anole by Christie Collins