If there ever was a time for me to learn to replace the sky in an image then today would be the day. My day in Rockport really was lovely, after all, it wasn’t raining. But the sky could have been a lot prettier. But the lack of color in the sky couldn’t spoil the colorful scenes I was seeing everywhere I looked.
When you are retired every day is a vacation I know, but to be back ‘home’ with time to enjoy places I never visited when I lived here is the best of all possible worlds.
I’ll bet you think I’m going to get all philosophical and talk about how you think your life is going one way and then it takes a very unexpected turn. I might be tempted to talk about that, but in this case I’m talking about the actual detour we took yesterday. Off of Rt. 301, compliments of the policemen who had closed the road to all traffic. We knew that something very unfortunate had happened up ahead, and we had a pretty good attitude since we had planned a day of driving that would get us to our stopping point on the early side. I had, however, just suggested that a bathroom break might be in order, and little did I know that it would be two hours before we found ourselves back on 301.
It took us over two hours to travel that detour. We saw only one issue, and that was a car driving in our same direction, and she had gone off the road enough that trying to back herself back up the slope probably wouldn’t work. We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel by then, 301 was just up ahead and our particular nightmare was almost over. We looked at the cars and trucks heading south and just turning onto that sad little road and felt bad that they had no idea what they were in for. And, just as we expected, once we reached 301 we saw that the northbound lanes had been reopened while we were stuck in that detour nightmare. But we were back on the road with no harm done, so we were happy. Later on we learned that a truck driver had overturned and died, causing this whole problem. Day one of this trip was done…
If I had read the signage at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park I might have looked at the site a little differently. Old ruins are frequently the subject of photographs, and this one was only a short distance from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and required only a walk across the road to see it in its entirety. So it was a no-brainer to drive the two miles and see what was there. But in looking it up this morning I found myself surprised to read that it is the ruins of a forced-labor farm owned by David Levy Yulee. Once Florida became a state Yulee was elected to the Senate, and after Florida seceded from the union he became a member of the Confederate Congress. That he was an ‘enslaver’ was startling to read, maybe because of the terminology, or maybe the current political climate is making me take these statements less for granted than when read in a textbook years ago. He is also given credit for helping establish the network of railroads which became a boon to Florida’s economy. There is a much bigger story represented in this small space than I would ever have imagined.
When you discover that your friend has never been to Homosassa Springs State Park you might just decide to spend your day-before-the-storm there. The weather was surprisingly good again, even if the storm is supposed to hit tomorrow.
About that alligator feature photo. I am assured that that is a real alligator, as opposed to a mechanical one, which is what I suspected. But so far I’m not convinced, and he isn’t talking. He did smile for his picture though, whatever he is.
As is my unfortunate habit, I did my research on this lovely venue after the fact. That’s when I discovered that the ‘singing tower’, named for the wonderful serenade of bells that can be heard throughout the gardens, is made from pink marble and native coquina stone. And that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, ‘the father of American Landscape Architecture’. His accomplishments include New York’s Central Park, plus too many more to mention. Upon arrival you see hints of the tower, and we quickly decided to head straight for it since the weather was iffy the later in the day it got.
We did have to dodge some raindrops, and some serious sounding thunder claps, but for the most part the weather cooperated and we had a great day!
There is a consistency to my vague desire to find the perfect place to live these days. Aside from the basic affordability, the most important, and unobtainable, wished-for aspect, I want built-in photo ops on my doorstep. With that in mind downtown Lakeland might be just the spot for me.
Birds do seem to dominate the Florida photo-op scene, don’t they? I’m lucky to live here where affordability is at least possible. Not to mention the photo ops.