Saturday, September 1, 2012



 OLD JOE!!!!

 We had a really good time at the springs. When we got there, we felt like we had the place to ourselves

and Owen immediately wanted to go up to the top of the high dive platform and so I went with him and then Vergil came and AMAZED us by jumping off about four times and that was very, very cool. I bought tickets for the jungle boat cruise and so after a little bit of water time, we made our way to the dock and loaded up and although Owen was NOT in the best frame of mind about taking a jungle boat cruise, it was still fun and I got some great pictures. When I wasn't wrestling him like an alligator the way Tarzan does. Let me tell you something about that boy- he may not be nearly as big as I am but he's almost as strong. He, like his mama, is a force of nature.

We saw a bunch of alligators today. Some were swimming down the river, 

some were lying on the banks, basking in the sun. 

The river, in fact, was EAT UP with alligators today. We saw a lot of turtles, too, but I didn't get any of their pictures. I might have been wrestling with Owen at the time. We also saw manatee but they are hard to photograph, being underwater and all. But they are so magnificent, so huge. Sadly, they all carry scars on their backs from boat props. 

The cardinal flower was in bloom

(if you click, you can probably see it) and the pickerel although I didn't get any pictures of that purple blossom. The butterflies were even thicker than the gators and they hovered over those flowers like Dracula draping his wings over a virgin as he sips from her throat. 
Sorry. Didn't get a picture. You'll just have to imagine it. 

There were also birds galore including the Cattle Egret. Here's one.

If I'm wrong on that identification, let me know. Syd?

The Wakulla River has been protected for quite awhile but there are things which have happened in the last decade or so which can't be controlled by boundaries. Such as nutrients which are flowing into the river and causing things to overgrow which should not be there and taking away the gin-like clearness of the water and completely eliminating things like the apple snail which used to coat every cattail stalk with eggs which is what the limpkins ate and so now there are no limpkins.
They don't preach any of that to you on the jungle boat cruise, but they do mention it. And if you, like me, grew up in Florida, and if you, like me, live here now, these things are not just an aside tossed off by a park ranger. They are real and you know what things looked like not that long ago and you remember the strange, wild call of the limpkin and you know we are the poorer for it not being there and you grieve. You grieve.

But. The mullet were there, swimming beside the boat and leaping into the water and it is still a very, very beautiful river with the ancient cypress trees just starting to turn now to orange and gold. Yes, we have leaf-color change here too. It is more subtle, but it is real.

Okay, okay. Here's another alligator.

And no, Mr. Moon has not caught one yet. But they sure are having fun, running the rivers at night under the full moon.

When we got off the jungle boat, we wanted to swim some more, but just as we all get ready to step into the cold, sweet water near the springhead, it began to rain. 

Well? So what? Wet is wet. But. All of our STUFF was on the bank and so we turned to go in but before I did, I did exactly what I went down there to do. I surface-dived headfirst into that cold water and let every bit of me be blessed by it. 

Ah. Sigh.

And then we went to lunch in the lodge

and then we let Owen play in the big pile of rocks in the parking lot for a few moments which was his very favorite part of today's Wakulla Springs Experience, I am sure. 

 He and Vergil looked for fossils. They found some, too.

It was a very fine day. And when we left, the mist was coming up off the springs and wrapping everything in a sort of hazy mystery which is completely appropriate for a place where they have found not only the arrowheads of people who lived and hunted there long ago, but also the entire skeleton of a freaking mastodon which now scares the crap out of children at Tallahassee's Museum of Natural History.

It is a magical place. 

And oh yes- what about Gibson? Well, here he is on the jungle boat cruise. He didn't care a thing about the alligators. 

But he sure made us happy.

And I was reminded once again of why I am happy to live in Florida and why I give a damn about which candidate gives a shit about the rivers and the land I would like to leave to my grandchildren.

Much, much love...Ms. Moon


  1. It looks beautiful and so much fun. That river is gorgeous, I'm sure -- as are your little boys.

    Amen to the last sentence as well, given Mitt's proclamation to screw the planet and only help "you and your family."

  2. THAT is Florida to me. I always wanted to see a manatee there, but never saw one. So lovely. Thanks for the awesome pictures. :-)

  3. Sounds like a great day. I like museums and natural history tours. Lots of gators for sure. I am not an ornithologist but it looks like a great egret to me. Thecattleegret has some buff colored feathers.

  4. When Austin was that age, getting him to do something he wasn't of the mind to was like wrestling a pig. Solid muscle

  5. I just can't believe how big Owen is! And so very handsome! What a treat for all of us to see how he grows.
    Thinking of you, dear Ms. Moon, and hoping you are well.

  6. So beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing it. Completely different from southern California!

  7. I go to Wakulla at least 3 times a year and ride the jungle boat at least twice. It is the same to me as a pilgrimage.

  8. When I was a kid growing up in Pasco County, the lake behind our house was chock-full of apple snails. It never occurred to me that it might NOT be someday. But then another species of snail moved in, an apple snail from South America or someplace that limpkins apparently don't like as much, and the new snails completely took over. We still see limpkins but not nearly as often. The new snails' eggs look different -- pinker and smaller, as opposed to the light pink, bigger eggs of the Florida snails.

    Anyway, thanks for taking me down the river with you! I do love some Florida landscape.

  9. That's a wonderful photo of Gibson. He's just gorgeous.

    The swimming bit's fences off from the alligators, right? Meep!

  10. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I love those Cypress trees, I didn't know their name before, now I do.

  11. Elizabeth- He is so short-sighted. He is...okay. I'll nip that right in the bud. You know how I feel.

    Nicol- I'm not sure I'd ever seen any either until today. Not there, at least.

    Syd- That's what I was thinking too- Great Egret but then I changed my mind. Not sure why. Anyway, it's a egret or a heron. Of some sort.

    Stephanie- I actually think that Owen was enjoying our wrestling session. He was very quiet about it.

    Angie- Thank-you honey! Yes. I am very well.

    Denise- And yet, we do share some of the same critters and birds.

    DTG- Holy pilgrimage.

    Steve- I remember those apple snail eggs very well too. And in Wakulla's case- there appear to be NO snails laying eggs now of any kind. It's scary.

    Jo- There was a gator right by the boat dock and the driver/ranger said that there has never been a gator attack in the swimming area. I am not sure how they manage that because no, there is no fence. Just a rope barrier.

    Bugerlugs- Yep. Now you do. And don't buy cypress mulch! Never! Don't do it!

    Ellen- It surely was.

  12. I liked sharing this lovely day with the Moons. Both Owen and Gibson look so happy and strong. Glad you took a blessed dip. x0 N2

  13. Old Joe!!! I remember you taking Austin there when he was about Owen's age. Those pictures brought back some fine memories! Miss you!


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