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Close to Home

Not all wonders in the world are far away and entail extensive travel and costs.  Many reside just outside our front door.  Generally all we need to experience them is some curiosity, a willingness to leave the house or apartment, and an openness to seeing familiar objects in fresh ways.  An excellent illustration of this is provided in Hannah Holmes’s Suburban Safari: A Year 0n the Lawn.  As noted by E. O. Wilson in the quote on the Wonders main page, “To the extent that each person can feel like a naturalist, the old excitement of the untrammeled world will be regained.  I offer this as a formula of re-enchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit.  Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”  Included here are some examples of wondrous opportunities close by: a backyard, garden or park, greenbelt or pond, campus, nature center or zoo.  Many of the photos are of locations and wildlife close to where I live in Laramie; a few are from Houston where I spent a few months in the fall of 2006.  I end with photos from two of my favorite zoos.  (Zoos tend to be necessary for they provide opportunities to experience wildlife that may otherwise not be available to many people; perhaps critical to the preservation of a specific species.  As the Senegalese poet Baba Dioum has written, “In the end we will conserve only what we love.  We will love only what we understand.  We will understand only what we are taught.”)

House Sparrow and House Finch at our bird feeder – Laramie, Wyoming

  House Sparrows at our bird feeder – Laramie, Wyoming

Fox Squirrel at our bird feeder – Laramie, Wyoming

Fox Squirrel on our fence – Laramie, Wyoming

Fox Squirrel on our fence – Laramie, Wyoming

Roses – Laramie, Wyoming

Rose, backyardLaramie, Wyoming

American Robin (harbinger of spring) Laramie, Wyoming

American Crow, backyard  – Laramie, Wyoming

Red-tailed Hawk Laramie, Wyoming

Bee and Pink Rhododendrom, Hermann Park – Houston, Texas

Fly on our window screen – Laramie, Wyoming

Fly on our windowsill – Laramie, Wyoming

Rice Paper Butterfly, Cockrell Butterfly Center- Houston, Texas

Monarch Butterfly, Cockrell Butterfly Center – Houston, Texas

Greenbelt walking trail along the Laramie River – Laramie, Wyoming

American Heritage Center and Art Museum, University of Wyoming – Laramie, Wyoming

Horses, ranch near Laramie – Wyoming

Snow Goose, pond in Hermann Park – Houston, Texas

Wood Ducks, pond in Hermann Park – Houston, Texas

Day time sky – Laramie, Wyoming

Night time with crescent-shaped moon – Laramie, Wyoming

Polar Bear with cubs Koda and Nuka, Denver Zoo – Denver, Colorado

Mac, a darling Asian Elephant calf who captured the hearts of many but died after only two years from elephant herpesvirus, Houston Zoo – Houston, Texas

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