Keep your eyes open when you’re outdoors

On Sunday morning, I happened to catch a glimpse of a turkey vulture diving into my pasture for some morsel it spotted from the sky. The next thing I knew, I was finding out a lot more about my land than I’d ever known.

I was out feeding the horses on Sunday morning, and a turkey vulture flew down into the pasture. As I watched, it landed just out of my view over the lip of a little rise.

I finished feeding the horses, but kept my eye on the spot where the bird had disappeared. Since it hadn’t taken off again yet, I hustled back into the house and grabbed my camera, then I started out into the pasture to try to get a good picture.

I didn’t get very close before the vulture took off, but I did snap a few shots of it in flight. Then I wandered out to see what it had been eating.

What I found really wasn’t worth taking a picture of, and in case you’re eating right now, I won’t describe it. But as I was walking back to the house, I payed a little more attention to my surroundings than usual, and I’m glad I did.

I hadn’t gone far before I noticed a tiny hedgehog cactus with a little pink flower. I got down to take a closer look at it, and there was a bee crawling over the flower, looking for nectar.

I stayed there, lying flat on the ground in the middle of my pasture, taking pictures and just watching this natural interaction, until the bee gathered all it needed and flew off. But before I got up, I looked past the cactus and saw a horned lark hopping through the grass. I stayed where I was and watched the little bird. He’d hop a few paces, then stop and tilt his head to listen for bugs. Every once in a while, he’d dart his beak at the ground before hopping off again to look somewhere else. Eventually, he came up with the legs of some tiny insect sticking out of his beak, and then he flew away.

It was all a good lesson to pay attention to the world around us. Every once in a while, you just need to open your eyes and pay attention to everything we usually just take for granted.

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