Striving to make my retirement enjoyable and fruitful, I invest time surrounded by Florida’s natural beauty with a camera in hand. One recent steamy morning, I had a favorite place nearby to myself, enjoying some of the wonderful birds that nest there.  Summer Tanagers were singing overhead, joined by the warbling song of a Blue Grosbeak and many others, when a Red-Headed Woodpecker alighted on the dead pine snag I’d been watching.  The bird tapped the tree quietly and its mate appeared at the cavity’s entrance.  The pair stayed together, with one working inside as the other closely supervised. I found myself overcome with gratitude – for the agency that manages this property so well; for the birds that grace this place with feather and song; for this pair’s cooperation in posing for me, and for the gifts of being surrounded by the wonders of nature and the ability to experience it.

Now retired as senior pastor of the Joy Metropolitan Church Community Church of Orlando, John A. Middleton Jr. pursues his passion for nature photography in Lafayette County. 

See more of his work at

Do you have a photo for State of Wonder? Please email Lisa Lennox at [email protected].