Animal encounter


I remember as a child growing up in Ohio and Wisconsin I used to see animals everywhere; deer, birds, raccoons, squirrels were all very common. When I moved to Florida at 14 I was introduced to a whole new spectrum of animals: toads, frogs, Luna moths, snakes and a tone of bugs.

I have always loved animals. They were a constant in my life, like the stars. It didn’t matter where you went they were there too, in startling variety. When I met my best friend in high school she quickly educated me in all the cool critters of Florida. Being a life long farm girl she knew lots.

She taught me to hunt for critters things under rocks and logs; to dig around for stuff. Always keeping in mind that we were messing with them, so you had to be on guard for the rare reprisal.

Because of all this I unconsciously look for animals where ever I go. From the smallest baby toad, to the scissor tailed fly-catcher; they bring that child like wonder to my heart. This picture is of a turtle that my husband and I stumbled upon while walking at a local nature reserve. We could have easily missed him but he happened to move at the right time and the sound gave him away.

It was magical to see him trundling along through the underbrush thinking nothing of it. I worry for these wonderful creatures. How can they possible survive when the world is covered in pavement? Where will the bird’s nest when the trees are striped for development? I’m not saying the all development is bad. But I would hope that consideration is given to the natural world around us.

I have a small back yard with bird feeders. Toads hide in corners and under rocks. We have found a couple of ground snakes. It makes me feel good that our back yard is a haven in the midst of a city. Do what you can to help nature out, once it is lost it can never be recreated. And I want every child to have the chance to marvel at birds eggs in the spring, have a pet caterpillar or stand in hushed silence when they see their first deer. It reminds us we are not alone and care takers to so much more than concrete and steel.


65 responses »

  1. I TOTALLY agree. I, too, have been a nature lover since childhood, and with every new highway I worry more about the little critters. My parents’ house, once surrounded by nothing but squirrels and rabbits, now have hundreds of chipmunks, a few skunks and deer. Construction has forced them out of their happy homes and into ours, and I feel bad. Yesterday, for the first time, we saw a groundhog run by their front porch. I feel bad for the animals 😦

    • I hear you. I moved to TX from NM. From a mountain in my back yard to the suburbs. It is shocking to see the lack of wild life and how mistreated the few guys who manage to survive here are. All we can do is try to support people and organization that are doing something. Thanks so much for your comment.

    • I can’t imagine what it is like for children who don’t play in the dirt, see wild animals or learn to climb big trees. There is an inherent love and respect for nature that is built through those tentative experiences as a child. I wish every child could have that.

  2. I miss toads. They used to be a fact of life in the backyard but it’s literally been years since I’ve seen one. Chipmunks, on the other hand …

    • Hear you. Some critters we get attached to. I miss the tree frogs that sing at my mom’s house in Fl. But I have a sweet pair of devoted cardinals here so its a trade off.

  3. hi amanda,

    so with you on the animal loving! just decided to ditch my car for a bike. thought about making the switch for years because every time i see a deer, racoon, snake, etc. on the roadside, i mourn and swear off cars while friends tell me jokingly that the animals are “napping.” the simultaneous convenience and destruction offered by motor vehicles creates a very real toss up. the intricacies and rush of modern life seem to call for cars…but i’m going bike (or carpool for really long distance journeys) all they way. not solely for animals but for air, water and health. thanks so much for your post! take care.


    • Heather that is amazing! People in general think we are so small and the problems are so big that we can’t change anything. But demand speaks loud and clear. But it takes a conscious choice. The main thing is to start where you can. I started with no more plastic bags. I can’t stand that birds and turtles die because I couldn’t remember to bring it with me. I think that if every one did even a little things would really change, it just a matter of getting people to believe that it IS possible.

  4. It’s lovely that you’re able to connect with the animals of whatever environment you happen to be in. I am very pleased that you shared these experiences with the world as I predict that by sharing, you may have inspired some others to seek out similar opportunities.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  5. What a wonderful post! I love animals too, although some I prefer to love from a distance… like snakes. We have some in our yard, being so wooded, and they are beautiful but creepy at the same time. I can completely relate to the hushed silence when seeing deer. My grandparents had a cottage on a lake in the mountains in upstate New York, and every summer we would go there for a week for vacation. I will never forget how it made me feel to wake up first thing in the morning with the dew and fog, and see deer through the mist in the field by the lake.

  6. Living in Deadwood, SD — Animals both friendly and not so are no more than a thirty second walk from my office into the mountainous black pines. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Lovely post. I totally agree, too bad children nowadays in big cities do not have the opportunity to experience nature as much as for example I did, growing up in the 70s and 80s.

  8. I love animals too and volunteered over at a nature preserve which taught me what caterpillars eat what, and ended up in me taking care of monarch caterpillars. I’d find the little green eggs that are near impossible to see, and raise them until they became butterflies. I definitely love it.

  9. What a lovely post! I have always loved nature, animals and the great outdoors since a small child too, i find myself even more fascinated as a ‘grown up’. I might live in a city but I take every chance I get to enjoy the wilderness, visit an animal sanctuary or woodland even just a green space 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your relationship with wildlife.

  10. Enjoyed your post and congrats on making front page! I can feel your love of the out doors and critters…..I do also but can now do little due to illness…but will push myself as often as I can even if I pay for it later…lol…I am a member of the Leader’s Club of the National Wildlife Federation and thought you might like to check this out. They have a program set up to make your back yard a certified “backyard wildlife habitat”! It’s easy and fun and best of all it helps the indigenous wildlife thrive. There is an other program that is fun and helpful go to the web site and follow these prompts Home>Outside in nature>Wildlife Watch and enjoy! If you enjoy nature as much as I do, once on the NWF web site you will be hooked…lol…I go sometimes just to read up on one item and before I know it I’ve been reading for a few hours and not even started to look up the topic I first meant to read! I lived in very south Georgia just a few mile from the Florida state line while in my teens and early twenties and spent many a day making Florida my play ground as there are so many wonderful, fascinating and beautiful things to see and places to go. Always something new no matter how many times I went to the same place. Now I’m rambling on…lol…once again I enjoyed your post! Lila

  11. I love the picture! We found a little box turtle yesterday… it was only about 3 inches long! I wish I could have shown him to you. Last summer we had a garter snake swimming in a puddle in our wheel-barrow! I love it out here in the country. 🙂

  12. I have spent many an afternoon doing creek stomping and rock turning, too. I love animal encounters. That’s been my favorite part of being in Costa Rica so far- new animals to meet and love, from the monkeys that live in the trees around my house to the electric blue crayfish that nibbled on my toes in the creek I waded yesterday. Animals remind me that the world is about more than “us” and we’re a part of something so much greater than ourselves.

    • I’m not sure. I know that some people use a blog roll to show the names of other sites that they like or visit often but I don’t. I usually go to the pages of the people who comment because I want to get to know them better. Let me know if there is something you would rather do.

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