coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Still hanging on

I will eventually write about Charlottesville.  I will eventually allude to the hatred that is no longer festering in the hearts of so many American citizens, but has burst, sporelike, into the light of day. Hideous, disfiguring hatred is making zombies of the living. Hatred is born of fear and ignorance. And, of course, there is really no way to get around the fact that it is a sin.

Today, however, I am still trying to hang on to the goodness and beauty that is all around me. So I am going to continue with another post about the wildflowers found in the nearby nature preserve. 

Here is an interesting flowering vine. The identifying sign on the walkway referred to it as balsam pear. It is also known as bitter melon.  According to Wikipedia: "When ripe, the fruits burst apart, revealing numerous seeds covered with a brilliant scarlet, extremely sticky coating." It is not a native plant. However, it is still beautiful. Here it is in various states of being, and splitting open to spill its seed:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Scarlet Hibiscus

We went for a walk at a nature preserve yesterday. This preserve has a raised, wood plank path to walk on, which I appreciate considering the place is filled with alligators, snakes, monster spiders and strange lizards. There are also Florida wildflowers blooming at various times of the year. Yesterday we came upon a Scarlet Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus). It is also called scarlet rosemallow, marsh hibiscus, or swamp mallow. We've only seen it in the wild at this one preserve, only at this time of the summer, and in this one spot along the walk. There were a number of buds, but only one flower in bloom yesterday.


Thursday, August 3, 2017


I am NOT religious. However, I am curious about religions, and religiosity. I've been intrigued by the concept of "grace" since I stumbled upon it in a Catholic Encyclopedia entry one lunch hour when I had nothing better to do than to sit in the library, looking through reference books. I came upon "grace" and it kind of blew my mind. Here's one definition:

"In Western Christian theology, grace has been defined, not as a created substance of any kind, but as "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it"

I guess you can imagine why it appealed to me.  Getting something for doing nothing, not asking for it, not expecting it, and not deserving it in any way. Wow. Sign me up.

The agnostic who lives inside my brain is screaming "it is totally random, dumb luck, girlfriend!" 

But still, sometimes wonderful random things happen and they seem like a gift. Sometimes they change your life and things are never the same again. Of course random bad things happen, too.  But I am trying not to go there. Not today.

“Citrus Worker” by William Ludwig, Leu Gardens, Orlando, Florida

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Health caring, at least

I'm reasonably good about taking care of myself.  I exercise, eat well, and go to all the required doctors (and dentist) for all the annual exams. I do this in spite of the fact that, like many others, I absolutely hate going to the doctor.

I have this "not very well thought out" belief that if I go to a doctor, they WILL find something wrong that needs to be fixed. It's their job, for crying out loud. I know this is ridiculous. But since it is a belief (i.e., emotion based) I don't feel inclined to defend it as an idea (i.e., logic based).

Consequently, I was not surprised when my dermatologist found a basal cell carcinoma on my face. It has been there for a few years. My previous dermatologist pooh pooh'd it. I tried someone new this time. She biopsied and sent it off to the lab. A week later, she cut it out. Then I had the indignity of spending another week with 4 stitches between my nose and my lip on the right side. The swelling pushed my nose up on one side, and my top lip hung down over the bottom in the opposite direction. She also froze off 4 actinic keratosis on other areas of my face. I looked lovely.

Now I'm in the market for a big floppy hat. Perhaps one like Sally Rayburn wore on Bloodlines? That might be big enough to hide me from my enemy, the relentless *^$@! sun.

The only problem is that, unlike Sissy, I am not a skinny little person. I am a chubby little person. Consequently, a hat like this will likely make me look like my totem animal, the turtle. As one gets older, life seems to become a series of indignities. I'm getting used to it.

Sissy Spacek as Sally Rayburn in Bloodlines on Netflix

Friday, July 21, 2017

Owl be fine.

My husband was attending a meeting that was held in a building on a nature preserve the other day.  It was about 6:30 when he left and as he walked to the parking lot he glanced over and this is what he saw staring at him.  It never got scared or flew away.  It was clearly scrutinizing him. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Turtle Musings

The blogger am recently commented on my turtle masthead. She is an artist and a women of power. When she speaks of images, I pay attention. 

This photo represents a creature with fears and anxieties, but who pokes her head out of her shell from time to time with great hope and with as much energy as she can muster. She is small and seemingly insignificant. She is slow, but she is steady. Despite being restrained by a giant, she is curious and takes a chance by coming out of her shell to see what is going on. Who knows where that small act of courage might take her? 

I came late to blogland. I started writing in 2012, when I went to help my daughter for a few weeks after the birth of her son. I blogged to share the experience with my large extended family. They probably didn't read it.

Many of the original posts have long since been deleted because they revealed too much about me. I retreated back into my shell. I let my writing slide when I went back home and returned to work.

As I prepared to retire in 2013, I started blogging again. This blog became my lifeline as I adjusted to a new and considerably less productive life. This is where I think out loud.

I hope you have noticed the other turtle on my page. She lives on the bottom. She is swimming in full glory. If the little, tentative turtle on the top of my page is where I started, then the big one at the bottom is the one I hope someday to become. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

NOW Conference: Part II

The conference consisted of 3 break-out sessions each day (with multiple possibilities each time) and then various all-conference sessions with speakers.  On Saturday, there was a PAC lunch featuring a number of terrific speakers, including some from Florida, which hosted the conference this year. The speakers included Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and two Florida congresswomen, Lois Frankel, and Val Demings.  There was also a union activist named Kim Shultz, and a spitfire older feminist named Dr. Janet Canterbury.  It was so fun to hear these political warriors speak in person.

Representative Demings (the new congresswoman from my district, and former police chief of Orlando) set the place on fire towards the end of her speech letting us know why "she won't go back."  When she was done, I felt like I had been to church.  Then the last person to speak was Eleanor Smeal, someone us older feminists will remember.

According to Wikipedia, Eleanor Smeal "is one of the major leaders of the modern-day American feminist movement. Smeal is the president and a cofounder of the Feminist Majority Foundation (founded in 1987) and has served as president of the National Organization for Women for three terms, in addition to her work as an activist, grassroots organizer, lobbyist, and political analyst."

Her most entertaining quote came when she was speaking about the amazing Women's March on Washington, the one that happened they day after the most current presidential inauguration.  She noted that there were 661 additional marches that day in the U.S. alone, and hundreds more around the world.  She said:

"We will never forget how mad we were.  But we didn't sit back, we organized."  A little later  she said something like: "...and as every knows, when we (women) get screwed, we multiply!"

But you can watch it yourself.  The incomparable Eleanor Smeal starts speaking at about the 1:30:00 mark.  Do yourself a favor and watch Val Demings, too.  She starts about 53 minutes into the video, but doesn't really get going until about half way through her speech.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

NOW or never: Part 1

As promised, I spent two days as an eager newbie participant at the 2017 NOW conference in Orlando. It did not disappoint. In fact, it raised so many issues and inspired so many revelations for me, that I will be writing about aspects of it for at least a couple posts.

I arrived 20 minutes early and sat in my car feeling foolish. Nothing strange about THAT!

At exactly 8:00 a.m., I meandered into the hotel, and found the registration desk on the mezzanine. I also found a table laden with pastry and fruit.  More importantly, I found the coffee service. Fully loaded I searched out an empty seat on the mezzanine to wait, and perhaps to schmooze. My friend, CAP, who was to meet me there, was not the uncool early bird I am. It was early and I was feeling alone and dazed brave, so I sat down with a few strangers to see what would happen.

I sat down next to someone about my age. She was a talker, which took the pressure off me. When I managed to blurt out who I was, where I was from, and why I was there, she gave me a long look and then, with squinty eyes, said "I'm not sure how I feel about those new social media groups." For a few long moments, I felt like a fraud.

Thankfully, I have a strong ego. I also know secret groups serve a purpose for women who would not otherwise be politically active. AND we meet young people where they congregate, a real problem for traditional feminist organizations where the inter-generational tension is palpable. I thought to myself "Okay, now I know certain members of the old guard are uncomfortable with the proliferation of secret Facebook groups." Forewarned is forearmed. Next time I'll have an answer!

Fully caffeinated, I moved on to the breakout session on voter registration, which started at 8:30 a.m. I didn't want to miss a minute of it.

I had such a great time.

Much more to come.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A case for volunteering

Tomorrow I go to the NOW (National Organization of Women) conference. I am going with one of the other administrators from the political Facebook group I moderate for. Hopefully, we will learn practical skills we can take back and use for our Florida group. I am looking forward to it, even though I dread going. Does that make sense?

When I first joined the group, I was heartened to discover many like-minded women (and men) who wanted to create political community in a swing state. I had felt so alone in this crazy state. I needed to feel part of something bigger, even if it was virtual. Okay, maybe especially because it was virtual.  I am quite happy to stay at home.

I became a moderator for the group's discussion page in late December, and I was overwhelmed.  Uh, I had a LOT to learn. Some of us didn't spring full grown from the head of Zeus.

I had not done political work before, and I had been retired for 3 years. I was "rusty." I was afraid of conflict and confrontation. I was afraid I would be asked to do things I was not comfortable with. I doubted myself. Most of all, I was reluctant to give up a portion of my retirement time.

Because I am a notorious hot-head, I actually quit once, but went back a few weeks later. I have learned a lot about myself while growing into this role. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and change. I was afraid those days were over. 

If you are content living a quiet life in retirement, I am happy for you (and a bit jealous). Nothing wrong with that! But if you are floundering and/or depressed you might consider seeking a volunteer gig that interests you. Volunteering can give purpose to your life if you are feeling the lack.

It can be as simple as making one phone call a day, or doing spreadsheet work from home for an organization you believe in. Or you could volunteer to go to an animal shelter one afternoon a week to play with the cats and dogs. Whatever floats your boat. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


I understand cynicism. Really, I do. I just don't happen to like it.  It seems...cowardly.

You know, like when there is a spirited election coming up and the two candidates have radically different approaches to solving public problems.  There is always someone who will smirk and say "All politicians stink, that's why I don't bother to vote."  When someone says that to me, what I actually hear in my head is "I don't know right from wrong, I don't want to think about the issues, so I am just going to act like nothing matters. I hope you think I'm cool"  I don't.

It is easy to be distrustful and negative. Life is simpler if you tune out the noise of the modern world. The hard part is listening to all that noise and trying to make sense of it.
The truth is, life is complicated and requires a certain amount of intellectual rigor to figure out right from wrong. Mainstream American culture encourages citizens not to think. The more passive we are, the more compliant we will be.  Don't fall for it.

This is why we are thrilled by heroes. They seem to have thought long and hard about right and wrong. They are incorruptible and keep going when the going gets tough. They take a stand. They DO things. They give us hope, and inspire us to be our best selves. Doesn't everyone want to be a hero? If not, why?

Here's a sweet little piece from an Emily Dickinson poem to help us all recharge our batteries:

We never know how high we are 

Till we are called to rise; 
And then, if we are true to plan, 
Our statures touch the skies—

Okay, I needed that. Now I am going to go plant some seeds. 

Friday, June 16, 2017


I am feeling a little overwhelmed these days, aware of all the people in my life who need to be loved. Their need is palpable. I give what I can. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pulse of Orlando

Today is the one year anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting.  Since I live nearby, there is a lot in the media to memorialize all the people who were killed or hurt in that terrible event.  This is my favorite memorial, a photo of Angel Colon, who was shot but survived that day.  I love it when people refuse to hate. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

My sister-in-law, Jane

I just got back from a trip to Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan to see family. The reason for the trip was to attend a memorial event for T's sister, Jane. She died over the winter; however, her husband and sons wanted to wait until the warm weather to have a large barbecue/party in her honor. They live on one of the many small fishing lakes in Michigan. It was the perfect setting. The party was like having a wake without bothering with the funeral or any of the tortured nonsense that death culture usually requires. It was the perfect memorial for her, she would have loved it. Her presence was everywhere. It was lovely, as these things so often are.

Jane and T's maternal grandfather was, among other things, a funeral home director. Their house was the funeral home, and they lived on the top floor. There were usually dead bodies on the main floor in one form of death and preparation for burial. Jane and T's mother, BJ grew up like that. Sounds weird, doesn't it?  In fact, BJ had little fear of death. She passed that on to her children. 

Jane had suffered most of her adult life with Scleroderma, "or systemic sclerosis, ... a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases."

However, she died from lung cancer.  She never smoked. Go figure.   

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Looking for change

When I was young I fancied myself an artist. After I became a mother, I lost my passion for art. Still, I always thought I would sketch and, perhaps, paint in retirement. So far, I have not.

Then I started working outside the home. I discovered I could be creative in other, non-visual ways. That was an eye opener! I made the most of those years, and I was fulfilled and satisfied in return. I loved working outside the home, and I learned so much about myself in the process.

Quilt design and hand work were my passion for a time. Unfortunately, my last job was a snake pit. I was there for the final 8 years of my work life. It was a problem solver's dream, but it was all consuming and left little energy for personal projects. When I was home I only wanted to rest and recover. I lost interest in quilting. I figured I would get back to it when I retired. Nope, not yet!

In NYS I was an absolute fiend for perennial gardening. Florida is not a perennial gardener's dream. I lowered my gardening expectations. I dabble now for color and ambiance. I am not "really" passionate about gardening in Florida. 

During the 40 years I worked outside the home I was passionate about my job. Work defined me. I am grateful for the jobs, and the people I worked with during those middle years. The role I played became who I was. I eventually lost my passion for the job, too. Then I retired. 

It was harder to retire than I anticipated. I kept thinking I was on vacation and would eventually go back to work. I came to realize this was no vacation; this was my life. Doing nothing became tedious. However, I did NOT want to go out and find a job. I needed to reinvent myself.

Now I write here. I also started contributing to a new feminist blog collective (more on that another time). I continue to moderate for
a large, political Facebook group which is part of the great political awakening of women in the U.S. since that unfortunate election. Becoming politically involved has been a game changer for me in retirement.

We moved to Florida to become a meaningful part of our grandchildren's lives. We gave up home, jobs, gardens, and friends to move to a wild swing state filled with alligators and bugs.
I find grand parenting immensely satisfying. I also find myself loving Florida. It has all been worth the sacrifices.

Reinventing myself is fun. As long as I am lucky enough to wake up each morning, I have time and plenty of it. I still imagine one day I will thread the damn sewing machine, or sketch a still life. 

Let's go out in full glory, okay?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Bizzaro World

It feels like summer now to this northern transplant, but it isn't. Summer is yet to come. Summer is a whole other kettle of fish in Central Florida.

After my Mother's Day post, I cannot stop thinking about my mother, especially in this heat. Mom hated the heat and humidity of summer. I can just see her in my mind, sighing and sweating. She preferred the cold, northern winter. I am the opposite. I hate the cold. It chills me to the bone.

However, I've said this before. From June through September it is too damn hot to be outside in the afternoon down here. Our lives are very different since we moved to Central Florida. Now we hibernate in the summer rather than the winter. I am absolutely not complaining. It is neither better nor worse. It's all good! I am simply marveling at how different one place can be from another.

We DO have two vegetable planting seasons. How cool is that? Mom would have loved it. I do, too. She always had a veggie garden, and she used Rotenone like it was going out of style. She was of the "why weed when you can spray?" opinion. I figure that is why she developed Parkinson's Disease. Sigh. There was no telling that stubborn woman anything she didn't WANT to believe.

One planting takes place in October, for things like beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, radishes. Everything else we plant in late February or early March. We have been eating juicy tomatoes from raised beds since late April. 

We grow basil almost all year round (lotsa pesto!). Our perennial herbs are always available. Hmmm, I don't think Mom ever used or grew fresh herbs, except when she made dill pickles. I can picture her kitchen table covered with mason jars, cukes, and sprigs of dill weed. It was one of the things she and my Dad did together. They also made grape jelly, sauerkraut, and put up innumerable quarts of tomatoes. Food was important in my mother's house, and we ate well.

Living in this beautiful, relentlessly sunny place is almost like living in bizzarro world, or in upside down land. However, I'm goin' with the flow. The politics sometimes stink, but every day is beautiful. I am grateful to be right here experiencing big changes in my life, at my age, in these times. No matter how long one lives, life is too short. I try to live my life with joy, and I do NOT use Rotenone. I like reaching into the earth and yanking a skanky weed out by its roots. It feels like a personal victory.

Here are some things in our small veggie garden this morning:

Orange grape tomatoes - they always make me happy

Zucchini blossom, such a tease

Japanese eggplant and parsley
Basil, patient and true

Sunday, May 14, 2017

In My Mother's Day

This is my second Mother’s Day without my Mom.  She had her weaknesses, as we all do; but now I only remember her strength. She was often resourceful and independent.

In March 1964, when I was 12, we moved back to Northern Indiana after a 3-year interlude in the Pacific Northwest. My Mom wanted to go "home" where she had family. There were 6 kids in 1964, and none of us wanted to leave. However, we had to go. My Dad flew back ahead of us to begin work at his new job and get things settled for our arrival. Mom single-handedly packed and shipped our belongings, and we set out in an old 1958 Ford station wagon for the Promised Land.  My oldest sister was a senior in high school with only 3 more months to finish. She stayed with a friend’s family until after graduation.

My Mom drove 2,225 miles from Seattle, Washington to Northern Indiana with 5 kids between the ages of 2 and 14, and a cat, in that car. The two youngest were still in diapers. We drove down Washington State to Oregon, eastward to Idaho and Wyoming, through the Rocky Mountains. After that we traveled through the flatlands of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. Northern Indiana was home. My mother had always been fearless, but never more than on that epic journey when she took us home.

We didn’t stop at restaurants - too expensive. Back then, people didn't really eat at restaurants as casually as we do now. We stopped at small groceries and ate sandwiches at rest stops. Once, when we stopped to eat, the cat got out of the car and ran away into the farmer’s fields that were ubiquitous along the highway. We loved that cat, and looked long and hard. Eventually, Mom said we had to go. We were shattered as we silently drove away. However, a couple miles down the road Mom inexplicably turned the car around and went back for the cat. It was a heroic decision, and this time the darn cat had the good sense to come when called. We were more careful about keeping her safe after that.

Large chain motels didn't exist in the early 60’s to my recollection. Instead, motels were small and unique, “Mom and Pop” businesses. I remember staying overnight at one motel with a series of small, one-room cabins lined up next to each other. We all stayed in that one room. It took us 7 days to get to Indiana. The car broke down in Plainview, Nebraska. We stayed at a motel for two days while it got fixed. It was fun. We were not in school and it was mid-March. That felt strange in the middle of the semester, knowing that kids all over the country were in school leading normal lives. I felt like an outlaw on the run. It was a bit disconcerting, but exciting.

Towards the end of the trip, we started running out of money. There were no ATM’s or credit cards. Mom had a certain amount of cash, and that’s all we had to get where we were going. One night she decided to save money by not renting a motel room. Instead we all slept in the car: toddlers, tween, teenagers, mother, and cat. She parked late at night in a gas station parking lot, intending on gassing up the car when we woke the next morning. It was a cold night and, dontcha know, the car engine froze up. Early the next morning the car would not start. The owner lived above the gas station’s garage. We banged hard and long on his door to wake him up so he could come out and help us, which he did. At first he was angry, but when he saw the sorry lot who woke him up he softened. He helped us, and he didn’t charge a dime. People can be so kind. It is important to remember that.

I remember feeling like a vagabond. At that moment, we did not belong anywhere except in that old station wagon, traveling with our brave mother. She was our home. Eventually, we arrived at our destination and went directly to my paternal grandparent’s house where we were loved and celebrated.

My Mom was amazingly strong during that trip. She was confident, determined and never complained despite the many hardships. I guess one might say she persisted. I believed she could solve any problem that came our way, because she did. I trusted her in a way I have never trusted another human being since. It was a grand adventure that provided experiences and memories I would not trade for love or money. For many years, she was everything to me. I hope I told her that. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Back from the abyss

I can't remember the last time I had the flu, it has been that long. Today is the 12th day of sickness for me. Although I have been up and around since day 7, I am still not 100%. Even now, I would rather lie on the couch than sit up at the computer; but that just makes my back hurt. Too much of a good thing...

Liv wrote earlier this year about her own bout with Influenza B. I remember reading her blog post and thinking, "Damn, it just doesn't want to let her go!" Indeed, B is a greedy, gluttonous bitch. She enfolds you with cadaverous arms, sinks her raggedy-ass teeth in you and sucks all your vitality out while you alternate between fever and chills. After that all you want to do is sleep, apparently for weeks.

The good news is that we went to St. Augustine on day 7 of "B", once I had been fever free for 24 hours. We came home yesterday (day 11). Our daughter and her family rented a small house on Crescent Beach and we went to hang out with them. We have gone there many times in the past. It is one of my favorite places. There was no boogie board frolicking in the ocean or baking in the sun for me this time. However, I could gaze hypnotically at the ocean from the front porch, where there was also a cool ocean breeze and shade, glorious shade.

My husband, T, and son-in-law MV, both had bad head colds this week. My sweet little grandson, N, was seized by that withered bitch, Influenza B, on Monday. Our poor little man is spending his vacation on the couch in the cottage. It was the vacation house of sickness, I'm afraid. However, good times were had in spite of all that sick. What better place to be ill than at the beach, breathing the salt air?

The boardwalk from the cottage to the ocean, surrounded on either side by salt marsh plants

The moon rising over the ocean, behind a saw palmetto

A Gopher Tortoise.  There were also snakes and bunnies living in the salt marsh

I was amazed at how many different varieties of plant life could survive in the salty sand.
This sweet little cactus gets a yellow flower on top
Blanket flower (Gaillardia)?   There were also yellow beach flowers up towards the beach. I wish I had gotten a picture of those, they were lovely.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I'm sick

I have influenza B, haven't been this sick in donkey's years.  I can't really write a long post, but I wanted to let you all know why I am relatively quiet this week.  I think I feel a little better this morning.  We'll see. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017


I'm feeling blah. I am way too focused on political stuff, and need a break. However, political stuff is all I want to focus on. It is a conundrum.  

I did take a long bike ride yesterday with the man. I only left my computer and my online moderating gig because he forced me to. This is why I keep him around. Oh yeah, and because I love him.

Here are some things one might see when one turns off the computer and leaves the house:

Red winged blackbird

Cormorants or anhingas? - they are always on this tree, or what is left of it

An osprey looking inscrutable and feigning indifference

The historic pump house at the end of the Lake Apopka Loop Trail
A big old alligator just trying to take a nap, s/he got angry I was taking this picture (from the bridge...) and got up and left.

Here S/he is, disgusted and leaving.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Toxic People

I have a few toxic individuals in my life. You know the type. They are super needy and always perpetuating self-centered drama. Their emotions are often out of control. They zing you with sly criticisms and put-downs designed to make you look bad and them look good. You know they hate you, but they pretend they don't?

It is best to avoid them, of course. I certainly try to. But sometimes you can't. Sometimes they are co-workers, neighbors, or members of your family. Any thoughts on how to emotionally detach on those unpleasant occasions when you are unable to physically escape?

I am so tired of BS

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sleeping In?

In some ways I still have not totally adjusted to this retirement thing. For many years I got up at 5:30 a.m. I sleep until between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. now. When I imagined retirement I expected I would sleep in luxuriously for much longer than that. Unfortunately, I still retain the working woman's anxiety mindset. When I wake up, I feel like I must GET up. I tried to stay in bed, awake, for at least 15 minutes. That was fun, but I got bored. I also tried napping a few times. Then I couldn't get to sleep at night. Let's face it. I just can't sustain the effort it takes to relax. 

Does anyone know what the flowering plant in the foreground is called?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Semi-wordless Wednesday

I don't have much to say today.

A Blue heron on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Palm leaf after a controlled burn, Wekiva Springs State Park

Palm Tree some months after a controlled burn.  Still growing.

Heron on slab at Lake Apopka Wildlife drive, crooked neck

A turkey taking the high road at Sand Lake, Wekiva Springs State Park

A palm leaf that continued to grow after a controlled burn, Wekiva Springs State Park

Turtle on log in Sand Lake, Wekiva Springs State Park, note spider web over his/her head
The swimming area at Wekiva Springs State Park.  Swimmers are supposed to stay on this side of the bridge. The water area on the far side of the bridge is for canoes and kayaks. There are alligators on the far side. A couple of years ago a swimmer swam out there and an alligator attacked her. She lost her arm. True story. The swimming area is shallow, so you would be able to see an alligator if it came there. They don't, though. I'm not sure why not.

Lubber Grasshopper on red leaf, Wekiva Springs State Park