I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen. -Eeyore
* * *
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. -Hermann Hesse
* * *
Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. -Rabindranath Tagore
* * *
Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. -Osho
Loving the trees in rare untouched cypress swamp
It’s Arbor Day! And despite a wee bit of life’s chaos, I couldn’t neglect our most amazing, most magnificent creatures. As caretakers of this beautiful sphere, it remains our utmost responsibility to honor, safeguard, and protect these living entities. Upwards of 5,000 years old, they’ve borne witness to the rise and fall of entire civilizations. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Plant a tree…Recycle…Go paperless…Follow conservation groups diligently working to protect these lovely, ancient living citadels. Or just show one some love and respect, and give it a nice hugggggg. 🙂
The always lovely cypress trees in the Everglades
A new trail….
Slash pine close-up
Pine flatwoods vista
The Gentlemen Oaks of the Florida Trail
The fascinating cypress in winter
The canopy of a hardwood swamp
Everyone loves trees!
“We cannot live without the Earth or apart from it, and something is shrivelled in a man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.” ―Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
On August 8, 1896, one of Florida’s greatest novelists and conservationists was born: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Although she grew up in Washington D.C., Rawlings settled in rural Florida, writing about the land and people of her surroundings. Her works included the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Yearling, and Cross Creek, an autobiographical account of life in her beloved Florida — she loved her hammocks. Happy birthday, Marjorie!
One of my favorite spots, the flatwoods of Cypress Creek Natural Area
A warm, long-overdue hullllo and peek-a-boo from the depths of South Florida, to the blogging world — I’ve missed you all so!
Nearly stumbling about this sweet juvenile gator in Grassy Waters Preserve. Hullo, fella!
Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes. —
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
In honor of the Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, who met after a long correspondence on May 20, 1845…and began one of the most celebrated love affairs in history. After much wooing, Browning finally convinced a shy and skeptical Barrett that he loved her “for naught except for love’s sake only.”
* * *
I readily admit that my sense of direction is horrible. Which makes wanting to explore the more off-beaten trails a bit…difficult, to my family’s tremendous concern. There’s a lot of backtracking! But in visiting these places, a vision of natural Florida is allowed — and it’s divine.
Outside of the *ridiculous* number of gargantuan mosquitoes that swarmed as I carefully crept into this lovely swamp, it was a treat. I only hope that any human male who shows an interest in me in the future, will also understand my occasional mosquito attacks (not pretty). And the spider bites. And occasional wasp stings. I should seriously consider paramedics or forest rangers as potential dating material.
A still-dry cypress swamp in the Cypress Creek Natural Area
I recently hiked through one of my favorite habitats, a hardwood swamp. Various hardwood trees and a mixture of hardwoods and Cypress can be found here, including Water hickory, Holly, Maples, Oaks, Cabbage palms and Bay trees, accompanied by a dense understory of vines, ferns and herbaceous plants. Hardwood swamps occur on floodplains or upland areas that are lower than the surrounding area. And it’s home to so much life — the sounds coming from the trees were just lovely.
Looking up into the canopy of the hardwood swamp
Yet another breathtakingly beautiful Florida habitat to witness and love — and above all else, protect and preserve.
On the heels of Earth Day, I wanted to share an *internal* vision of one of the few remaining cypress swamps lining the Everglades…. It’s part of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and I spend much time there — and you can probably see why. It’s utterly beautiful. Just magnificent. We’re tentatively leaving the dry season here in South Florida (our daily afternoon rains haven’t quite started — that will be May), but the swamp is slowly coming into its glory, thanks to some plentiful April rainfall.
Cypress Swamp, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Like most of Florida’s cypress, this area was thoroughly logged in the ’40s — so while the trees aren’t first-generation cypress, they’re beautiful nonetheless — and thankfully, they’re now protected by various federal and state agencies! In this swamp, among the bald and pond cypress there are also pond apple trees, as well as different species of ferns, some twice as large as I stand. It’s just magical. I always picture this land covered by such a vista…. Which, in the human timeline, wasn’t that long ago.
A dense vista
This wetland habitat supports an incredible amount of life, although much less than it did in years past. Butterflies, alligator, snakes, frogs, bobcats, otter, birds of every variety, and raptors make their homes here. Larger predators, including panther and bear, would have freely roamed. And it’s fantastic: You may HEAR the Great-horned owl, but try finding him. If you’re not quiet and gentle out there — and observant — you’ll miss everything.
Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charitonius)
A Southern leopard frog just missed his meal ticket of a dragonfly, but hasn’t given up… Using his PERFECT camouflage
A Red-bellied Cooter sunning on a fallen log in the swamp = JOY!
A well-hidden and quite harmless Black racer tries to sleep
Looking up into the beautiful young cypress trees of the swamp
National Park Week 2013, Courtesy of the National Park Service
National Park Week is April 20-28, 2013 — So walk, meander, run, bike, or trail-ride your way to your nearest one! Admission to every national park is FREE Monday through Friday.
Love your national parks, national wildlife refuges, and national forests — numbering more than 2,000 — and continue to support them by your mere presence (especially now). And above all else, bask in the beauty of these wondrous spaces!
A Great blue heron rests in the Everglades of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Heading into the dappled cypress swamp along the boardwalk in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
The cypress swamp in winter of the Big Cypress National Preserve
The remaining entrance fee-free dates for 2013 are:
- August 25 (National Park Service Birthday, or Pre-FeyGirl Birthday)
- September 28 (National Public Lands Day)
- November 9-11 (Veterans Day weekend)