The first lake (Steelman Lake) I stumbled upon was filled with 1,000's of various species co-mingling in the morning light. A bit shaky, I crawled on my belly through the tall grass hoping to get close enough for a decent photograph. I moved as silently and slowly as I could alongside the lake searching for a nice location to start looking through my camera. Just as I started to lift the camera to my eye, in one rush of energy the sea of birds lifted skyward. Maybe they spotted me, probably, but it didn't matter because the sight and wave of energy was inspiring. I watched for several minutes as each bird searched for their respectful place amongst the crowd in the sky and fell into formation.
I couldn't bring myself to sit still and wait as a well disciplined bird photographer would. There was just too much to see and explore in this morning light. As I drifted deeper into this land of water and birds I realized the privilege I have allowing me to experience these amazing places. We live in an intensely fast paced world of survival and indulgence and many times forget to breathe in wild places that may be a short car ride or even a brief saunter away. It's difficult to express in words what a place like this does to your mind and spirit. The sensation is simple to have but difficult to notice.
The annual parking permit rests on my dash awaiting many more explorations and adventures needed to fill my lungs with relief from the heavy air only minutes away.