March 8, 2015
River of Grass
“Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated
fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”-
Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote her landmark book,
“Everglades, River of Grass” in 1947 and lived to the age of 108, in time to
see the 50th anniversary of the influential book that did so much to
convince the world that the Everglades was much more than a worthless swamp,
but rather a National treasure to be protected and celebrated. Her book is
widely seen as paving the way for the creation of Everglades National Park
which set aside about twenty percent of the Everglades to be protected.
I love the Everglades and I try to visit when I get the
chance, it is so close and yet so foreign and is full of wonderful exotic plant
and animal life. I never get over the excitement of seeing alligators up close.
There is something primeval and dangerous about them that I am drawn to and I
never tire of seeing them. The Everglades offers literally thousands of
opportunities to see them in their natural habitat.
I get a sense of awe when I see the first one, which
dissipates only until I see the second one and so on and the thrill doesn’t end
even when there are hundreds to see as there was when I took the stroll around
the Annihinga Trail. There were countless gators, and birds of countless
variety as well as snakes, fish and other swamp dwelling creatures. It was
magical to me, such beauty in what many consider a horrible swamp.
I also took the opportunity to stop at another of South
Florida’s beautiful National Parks, Biscayne National Park. Biscayne is a
mostly underwater park with only a small percentage that is land based, which
is where I stopped to view the shoreline and was fortunate enough to see a
Manatee mother and baby, lazily grazing along a mangrove-lined canal.
South Florida is fortunate to have three National Parks,
multiple nature preserves, animal sanctuaries and the National Marine Sanctuary
to protect the natural beauty and flora and fauna that are found here. The
variety of ecosystems in close proximity make it a wonderful place for nature
lovers to explore.
This time of year is generally a time when we tend to get a
lot of visitors from the Northern climes and with the horrible winter that much
of the North experienced, this year was no exception. Kathy and I enjoy the
visitors though and love having family and friends here. Kathy’s father Jim was
here for two weeks visiting from winter-ravaged Marshfield, Massachusetts and
we had our good friend Shanda here for a brief visit as well.
Mike & Michael
We also had another visit from our friend Mike, from Estes
Park, Colorado and it was so great to get to spend a little time together
during his vacation here in Key West. Hopefully more of our friends will follow
suit and come down to Key West for some relaxation.