Monday, December 15, 2014

A Split from my Sunday Routine

I've learned to listen to the voice inside that needs to re-connect with nature. I heard it Sunday morning and I altered my plans to visit my go-to hiking spot, Split Oak Forest. I like to enter the Forest through Orange County's Moss Park, but I was warned that the trail might be wet. And sure enough it was flooded and the December water was painfully cold. But I marched on through the marshy area that connects the two parks and I was rewarded by the appearance of a young buck crossing the trail near the boundary to the Forest.

On this brilliant cool day the textures of the trail caught my eye, from small yellow flowers to fluffy grass-like native plants back lit by the sun. I wasn't sure if I'd take photos at all, as I really just desired peace and solitude, but I really love the sense of timelessness I feel when I'm in the flow of taking pictures.

I made my way to Lake Bonnett, the pay-off for my hike, and I enjoyed the stillness of the place with a pair of Sandhill Cranes. It's amazing to me that this oasis of beauty is minutes from the booming Lake Nona area, within earshot of the Orlando Airport. I saw a large Fox Squirrel, numerous deer and a speedy armadillo. Except for a solidary runner, I had the whole place to myself – just me and the colors and textures of nature on a crisp day. These are the kind of places that remind me that Florida has a wild soul, and to tame her would be a sin, as she would cease to be Florida anymore, just a nameless, sterile paved over paradise. There was drama in the Forest this day in the contrast between light and dark, stillness and motion, and splashes of color contrasted against monotone backgrounds. I wonder if this became my new routine, would it become old and stale, or would a weekly dose of Mother Nature still have the same power to sooth my soul?

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