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I took a walk on the wild side.
Here's what I found.
My family probably would not describe me as a thrill seeker. My notion of adventure lies mainly in the realm of safe with few opportunities for danger.
However, I relish walks in the not-so-wild parts of nature, visits to gardens, and exploring zoos and other enclosed environments that protect the wildlife—and me. Would I ever venture out into a rainforest or African plains? Maybe, but not likely.
Instead, I explore the places available to me observing, listening, and letting go of myself long enough to marvel at what I often take for granted.
Wandering through the gardens of a wildflower seed farm, I met up with hundreds of butterflies. Most seemed oblivious to my presence as they flitted from flower to flower. I held down the shutter release of my camera hoping to capture at least one. How did they find this place and round up all their friends?
Rows and rows of sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias leaned toward the sun. Bees and moths circled them landing and taking off. Everyone seemed to know their purpose never hesitating to share their gifts.
This week's adventures continued with a trek through the tropical rainforest and a dive into the sea and ocean reefs. Well, let’s just say the Galveston Moody Gardens Rainforest and Aquarium provided a glimpse of life in these extraordinary environments.
Over 1,700 lush tropical plants, waterfalls, and ponds teeming with endangered animals allow mere humans a close-up view of life in the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Moody Gardens collaborates with organizations to protect and rehabilitate species threatened by extinction, including the white-faced Saki monkey, Pink Pigeons, Scarlet Ibis, Ocelot, and Two-Toed Sloth.
Exploring ocean life, I discovered the Humbolt Penguins, jellyfish, sea turtles, rescued seals, stingrays, and fish of all colors and shapes foraging through the coral. I even spotted a Nemo look-alike!
What did I learn on my adventures?
The Moody Gardens also supports research on marine diseases that threaten coral reefs along the Texas and Florida coast, and—the power of respect.
The word respect comes from the Latin verb respicere, “to look back at.” We gaze at our surroundings from the perspective of our needs and how the world serves us.
If I re-speculate, respect, I rearrange my thinking to recognize the universality and interrelationship of all living things. From that perspective, I coexist with nature and can take a walk on the wild side whenever I choose.
Wanna join me?
Occasionally, we spot a majestic bald eagle flying over the lake. Proof that wild things are everywhere if you look.
You can watch the Humbolt Penguins on the Moody Gardens penguin webcam.
“Fortunately, nature is amazingly resilient: places we have destroyed, given time and help, can once again support life, and endangered species can be given a second chance. And there is a growing number of people, especially young people, who are aware of these problems and are fighting for the survival of our only home, planet Earth. We must all join that fight before it is too late.”
— Jane Goodall, renowned English primatologist
Find a little wonder this week, and maybe take a walk on the wild side.
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