Saturday, November 12, 2011

Highlands Hammock

Now, where was that path?
Highlands Hammock State Park

For me, Florida is turning out to be a mixed bag.  Parts of it do not appeal to me, but then, there are the gems...

Turning north from Ft. Myers (I decided it would be prudent of me to avoid the Miami area completely...), I took the back roads to the interior of the state.  I'd found a state park in the middle of the swamplands, and thought I'd see if I could see some alligators.

I didn't see any, though I was told me they were there.  What I did find was a forest landscape out of time, and some mosquitoes that the Minnesota cousins would be proud to claim as their own. 

I hope it doesn't learn how to crawl...
I take back everything I said about wanting to get off the beaten path.  Not in this place.  The boardwalk was much appreciated - I definitely didn't want to bother any of those who live in the swampy morass beneath my feet.  (Isn't this the ideal habitat for water moccasins???)  I was also glad I wasn't on the installation crew.

The campgrounds are at the front of the park; the nature trails a short bike ride and an entire world away.

Definitely not Kansas...
Once you get off the main road just a short distance, the sounds of the outside world get swallowed in the peaceful hush of the forest.  My footsteps sounded harshly loud as I walked the path; I stopped often as I walked, to let their echoes die so I could listen to the quiet.

And, though I wasn't expecting it to, the quiet worked its magic on my soul.  I'd started the walk in a restless mood.  Now that I'm past the first month of recovery from burnout, I'm not sure what I'm doing on this trip.  My allotted time for travel is going quickly; shouldn't I be gathering an idea of what I want to do when it's over?  I currently have no clue and some days it bothers me.  As I walked and stopped and listened, all that didn't seem so important for a while.  What was important was the beauty around me; creeping into my soul and quieting my doubts. 

Stop.  Relax.  Breathe.

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