Monday, April 27, 2009

Leap and the net will appear!

My legs. Yes indeedy.

We spent our rest day at Wakulla Springs. Home to the largest spring in the United States and maybe the fourth largest in the world, the place has a flow of some 400,000 gallons PER MINUTE! Mik, the guide from the first half of our trip said to jump for her. Ah me. If we hadn't, she'd never have know. BUT I am not one to let an invitation like that go unmet so...

The funny thing about the place is that it hasn't changed much since it was built. Irregular cell phone service. No internet service. Funny old rooms, an old-fashioned menu, and boats that have been offering rides up and down the Wakulla River since Mr. Ball created the place. Thank you Mr. Ball! (Makes me especially grateful to anyone with money enough to buy up land and save it for future generations. This is a very good thing to do. We who follow behind thank you.)

The birds and animals are very accustomed to these tour boats and so do not fly away or retreat. This means you can get close enough to a pair of nesting Great White Egrets to see the fluff balls in the next - the babies. And the plentiful alligators blink and move just a little bit when the boat approaches. SO much better than any zoo. It is SO wonderful to see these beings in their home, their real home. And then, to ride outside the park where it immediately becomes filled with litter and roaring cars - well, it brings tears to my heart.

We continue to ride across Florida. Three more days. Three.

Today's ride was flat and straight. I don't think we turned except to get on the main road and, just now, to get off it. I'm talking STRAIGHT. The challenge becomes how to ride comfortably when there is no apparent reason to shift. Same gear. No turning. No hills. No variety.

But, as with all of these sorts of days, beauty resides just one tiny smidgen under the seemingly monotony. Iris live in the Cyprus Bogs. The foliage, if you look, is incredibly varied - palmetto, Cyprus, oaks, Spanish moss and many, many other things. Pines poke up, ferns fill in the scrub. Take a breath, look around - the world opens up.

So, being a short distance from Apalachicola, I'm eating oysters as much as possible. Lunch. Dinner. Breakfast - okay - not so much. I'm happy today, happy to get to see this land that is missed if you drive on the interstates. Missed, too, I'm sure, by drivers on these very roads. The honeysuckle is intoxicating. The musty earth is too.

I cannot believe this is almost done.
Last night, thinking about it, I got very sad. There are good parts to being done, but this has been life-altering. And how do you take this sort of experience, altered, and fold it into what already is? I am not sure. But tomorrow I'll ride some more and think about just that.


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