Park It

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There is something about wandering. It can be done anytime anywhere, in nature, in a mall, through a city, even in your own backyard. It’s mostly free and all you really need are feet and a sense of curiosity.

I grew up in a very sensual environment just outside Washington DC. My father was a fine artist with a love of classical music and my mother a seamstress, toy maker and harpist. We ate out at the best places Washington had to offer, went to plays at the National Theatre, wandered the galleries and museums of the Smithsonian and meandered through the spring gardens at the National Cathedral at Easter. Intellect was gained through the senses, through experiences.

To this day, I am still captivated by the way light changes the color and mood of things; the sound of owls calling to one another or the low croak of an alligator; the scent of orange blossoms, oh, orange blossoms! I love the feel of the wind on my face. I will even go so far as to admit I love hurricanes – the power is intoxicating.

There is no end to the beauty surrounding me that I can experience through my senses. Perhaps the compulsion to consume it all is even greater now. There are times when the depth of the blue sky brings tears to my eyes. Or I completely lose time watching a fuzzy caterpillar negotiate bumpy tree bark. Whole conversations have been had with a single dragonfly.

Today I consider myself a professional wanderer and observer extraordinaire, drinking in every detail I can on my various walkabouts. My camera helps me stay present and sometimes provides the best opportunities to witness nature up close and personal. The photos also allow me to fulfill the other half of my predisposition – sharing.

Since returning from India, I have been wandering closer to home, haunting state and local parks. Some are not much bigger than a boat ramp into a small lake and others are full of alligators a little too close for comfort – yet I hunt for them. But each park has a body of water, beautiful old trees full of Spanish moss and birds almost as tall as me. There are woods to tromp through, some with boardwalks, some with barely discernible paths.

There are so many county, state and national parks to visit. Every state has them. GO TO THEM! If they have an entrance or parking fee, pay it gladly. If they have a donation box, drop a buck in. They are doing really great work providing YOU with a place to breathe in the bounty of nature and get grounded.

The parks I have been to lately have all been free and are listed below each photo. The photo at the top is from Orlando Wetlands Park, and yes, he’s close – we had an agreement, I would stay on land, he would stay in the water. This park has almost 20 miles of trails and a very modest donation box at the main trail head. Going there later today to catch a couple critters near sunset. You should totally come!

Anhinga drying out. Orlando Wetlands Park.
Anhinga drying out. Orlando Wetlands Park, Christmas, FL.
Funky ducks. Orlando Wetlands Park
Funky ducks. Orlando Wetlands Park
Ibis with a view. Orlando Wetlands Park
Ibis with a view. Orlando Wetlands Park
Cool and inviting boardwalk through the woods at Lake Mills Park, Chuluota, FL
Cool and inviting boardwalk through the woods at Lake Mills Park, Chuluota, FL
First sip of spring at Lake Lotus Park in Altamonte Springs, FL
First sip of spring at Lake Lotus Park in Altamonte Springs, FL
Scads of baby ducks at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, FL
Scads of baby ducks at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, FL

 

 

 

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