Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting started

A cold front is pushing through Central Florida, creating movement on the surface of our little lake. The weather radio has gone off once and I expect a morning full of interruptions by that annoying device purchased to save us from middle-of-the night tornadoes. But I did not start a blog to talk about the weather.

I think I started it, to have a venue to post things I'm learning. If anything at age 43, (44 is days away), my intellectual curiosity is growing and I get excited about things like Florida history, roadside archeology and the ecosytem of this small body of water we live on. 

And that is perhaps the best place to start, our lake. In 2003, my girlfriend of 9 months and I decided that we each knew ourselves well enough as we approached middle age to take a risk on each other and buy a house together. That decision almost tore us apart as we struggled to find a place we could both agree upon. Then one fortuitous day, we happened upon this little house on the lake, just minutes from downtown Orlando. Five years later this is our home, we're married and we live blissfully as stewards of this incredible little property.

Living here has changed the way I view the world. I notice subtlety in nature that I overlooked before, merely by being still. And I'm always surprised. This year it's been otters that has brought us the most excitement. We first noticed them the day we returned from vacation, basking on our little dock, rubbing their fur on the worn and weathered 4X6s. There are 4 of them and they have returned often, mostly in the morning. I usually see them swimming on the east side of the lake and they work their way over to us as they swim counterclockwise around the lake.

That first day we saw the otters, my dad went out to photograph them as they relaxed at the end of the dock. Quite distressed by his appearance, they did backflips into the shallow water below. I got pretty pissed, fearing they were scared away forever. But they soon reappeared.  

It is my belief that we are sharing the lake with the otters, turtles, tilapia, Great Blue Herons, and Osprey who live and find sustenance beneath it's green waters. Man is the intruder, the lake belongs to nature, and I try to minimize my impact upon it. I have a reverence for all those amazing creatures and am reluctant to disturb them. Even when two dozen wood ducks are crapping all over the dock, I feel like I am blessed I get to witness this amazing array of one of the prettiest bird species in North America.

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