It’s a tribute to cave divers like the late Wes Skiles that photos of people swimming in the Floridan Aquifer have become common-place. In places like the amazing Blue Path exhibit now showing in the Florida Museum of Natural History, we see pictures of divers swimming through the most serene settings imaginable—suspended in dream worlds of icy-blue water and cream-colored limestone; moving through grand, underwater passages; illuminated by…Continue
I’m not sure what I expected to see in the heron’s eye; maybe some sign of its soul. The Calusa said the eyes are windows to the soul. If there was ever a moment this bird’s soul would be shining from its jet black “windows,” it was now, standing knee-deep in the float-glass waters of Newnans Lake and gazing, with the tranquility of a monk, into a smoldering burnt orange sunset. I wanted to believe that the shining black well held the knowledge of the Universe—the knowledge shamen and monks…Continue
Of all Leonardo Da Vinci’s great ideas, one of my favorites is one of his simplest. No diagrams, no assembly required, just a simple re-purposing of an everyday item—the canoe paddle. He suggested if we put its blade into water and then pressed our ear against its shaft, we could hear the sounds of aquatic life. Once again, Leonardo was way ahead of it’s time. Not only did this idea pre-date sonar, it predated the belief that the sea was worth listening to.
Hiking in Ichetucknee Forest this morning, I was reminded that nature observation requires a few basic skills. Spontaneity is high on the list. When you spot a pair of slugs slowly sliding over each other, you must be willing to forego all plans and stop to watch them. You may never again see two slugs interacting. Next, you must have the patience to sit quietly for hours watching your slimy subjects for any hint of interesting behavior. Being observant also helps. Make mental notes…Continue
I think future historians will tell Florida’s story in terms of springs. There’s no overstating the role springs have played in the lives of Floridians, dating back to the very first Floridians who arrived nearly 14,000 years ago on the heels of the great Ice Age herds and extending through every culture and time period to the present.
For those first Paleo-Indians, springs were oases in a much cooler, drier Florida than we know today. For later cultures, they were invaluable…Continue