My daughter and I were only ten minutes into a four day canoe trip through the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and already we had missed something! As we were paddling up the channel to Billy’s Lake from the Stephen C. Foster State Park boat ramp, we pulled to the side to let a tourist-laden pontoon boat pass by. As they went by, the naturalist on board pointed out an American Bittern camouflaged in the marsh grasses. We had paddled right past it, hidden in plain sight!
But we can’t be blamed as they are really tough to spot. One ornithology website says, “You'll need sharp eyes to catch sight of an American Bittern. This streaky, brown and buff heron can materialize among the reeds, and disappear as quickly, especially when striking a concealment pose with neck stretched and bill pointed skyward.” With his bill pointed upward, he blends in perfectly with the tall brown grasses that line the water’s edge. Again, perfectly hidden in plain sight.
This world holds so many wonders and beauties. But because they are all around us, we often pass right by them without noticing. A small flower growing along the edge of a sidewalk; a Red-shouldered Hawk perched upon a wire spying out Rock Doves on a rooftop; towering cumulonimbus clouds glowing orange in the sunset… we pass right by all these things, hidden in plain sight.
And not only do we miss the artwork hidden in plain view in nature, we miss the Artist! Over the years, as my love of the outdoors and my study of wildlife continues, the evidence of God’s hand as Creator has become more and more obvious: overwhelming evidence of design, the complexity of biology, genetic programming within animals, the beauty found in nature… all things that point to a Designer. And they were all right there all along, hidden in plain sight.
Even though my daughter and I paddled right by that Bittern and didn’t recognize his presence, he was still there. He was just hidden in plain sight and merely needed to be pointed out to us. Take a moment each day to consciously look for and recognize the wonders of this world that my otherwise be Hidden in Plain Sight.
Photo credits: William Wise.
Nature and Wildlife Photography