Ugly, Ugly

If there is one thing that I’ve learned through the process of my vision deterioration, it is that things are not always what they appear to be.  Physically this is true, as a smooth-looking expanse can actually contain steps and blurry, out of focus dots of color can turn out to be beautiful, well-defined flowers.  On another level, a situation that appears to be unfortunate can be a vehicle for self-awareness and learning.  I have learned that if I can find the grace and beauty in any sight or situation or difficulty, it becomes a blessing in disguise.

After months of looking for the beauty in the world instead of taking everything at face value, a trip to Seneca Park Zoo proved that my perspective has been transformed.  When I uploaded my pictures and began to look at them, I was surprised at the sheer number of photos of animals that I would have previously considered unworthy of photography.  Ugly, ugly specimens.  Upon closer inspection, I found myself drawn to these particular photos.

Yes, I had photos of sea lions and beautiful birds and adorable tamarins and of the sleek, gorgeous cougar, but my attention was transfixed by the beauty of the animals I have always previously ignored.  The photo of the beaded lizard (above) seems, to me, to reveal the beauty of patience, the elegance of timelessness.

These big guys were sunning themselves in the sand on the day we visited the zoo.  I cared so little about them that I didn’t even look at the sign to see if they were crocodiles or alligators.  I snapped several pictures as we walked by, because it seemed as if they had a texture that I was unable to see.  When I uploaded the photos and looked at them, I saw the beauty of texture and the grace of their power.

I hate snakes.  I usually avoid the snake display completely.  Still, I stood in front of the glass in the snake house for a long time, enthralled by this emerald tree boa.  He was right up against the glass, so I could see him pretty clearly.  When I saw this photo, I was in love with this snake.  I am frightened by him, but I love the beauty of his color and the intricacy of his texture.

Talk about frightening.  This big guy is a monster.  Still, look at the beauty of his enormous size.  I am in awe of the destructive abilities hidden behind his peaceful shell.

I am amazed that, of all the photos of animals and flowers that I took at the zoo, it is the photos of these “ugly” animals that I wanted to work on first.  I bypassed pictures of my traditional favorites to look into the ugliness of these monstrous beasts.  I find beauty now that I had overlooked before.  I see something that was previously hidden from me.  Hidden only because I never looked deeply enough to see it.  Now that I can not see, I have learned to look.


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