Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 2 of cardinal hunt | What happens when you're slow

A gopher tortoise chows down along Parkway Drive, just outside Wickham Park in Melbourne.

I'm still recovering from surgery on my mouth. I hadn't shared much about the procedure even with my friends. Having been free of doctor visits for the past 10 years, I wanted to keep this medical issue on the down-low. But I'm bad at keeping secrets, and eventually, word got out.

To make a long story short: I had skin grafts (taken from a donor cadaver) on the roof of my mouth to repair the effects of having "teeth too big for your jawbone," the doctor told me. The hereditary problem effectively split my gums apart.

Last week, the medication made the pain bearable, almost laughable. This week, there has been no avoiding the swelling, which affects everything from eating to exercise.

On Day 2 of the hunt for a perfect photo of a cardinal, my condition slowed me immensely. By the time I got out the door with my camera, it was 4 p.m. And in searching for the bird in three spots, including on a boardwalk at Erna Nixon Park near Melbourne International Airport, I came up empty.

The only sign of life was a gopher tortoise gnawing on the sparse vegetation along the roadside. I frequently see them grazing in this place. The tortoise was the only animal I photographed and the only one that wasn't fast enough to avoid a blogger/photographer deep in a stupor.

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