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Archive for January, 2011

The Value of Travel

Anhinga, or snake bird

I have been neglecting this blog because I have been on an extended camping/driving trip in Florida. Sometimes, when I take a trip (and this was one of them), I end up wondering why on earth I went to the trouble to uproot myself from my comfortable surroundings and spend money I really can’t spare in order to see things that aren’t any more wonderful or inspiring than what’s at home. But travel, even difficult travel, has its rewards. In fact, if travel does nothing more than remind me that I like my life at home, perhaps that’s enough.

When I took the picture of the anhinga, I was spending part of a day alone because I was in such a foul mood: suffering from a bad cold, tired of being stuck in a disorganized camping van, feeling uncharitable towards my traveling companion, and generally mad at the world. I walked around and around the small town of Venice, Florida, and eventually found myself out near the jetty. People were picnicking, drinking coffee, taking boat tours…and nobody was paying any attention to this amazing bird. I suppose that when you see anhingas all the time, they’re nothing special. But I was wowed by its elegant bearing, the black-and-white patterns, the combination of furry neck and resplendent feathers. I said to someone passing by, “I want a coat like this.” She stopped for a moment and agreed that it was a pretty fabulous design for a coat.

It did not occur to me at the time, but the anhinga inspired me. I came home with an appreciation for the familiar and comfortable — but also a longing to combine colors and textures. Once home, I decided to set myself the goal of making a paper collage every day for a month. This is the first one, and I think it is influenced by the anhinga.

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