The Latest Springs Trip

Florida Travel Blog

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still a l'il kid at heart

      How can a place year after year leave me in such stunned awe? It really is the fountain of youth. I thought after my father had taken some pictures of me jumping in the spring that we were all still behaving exactly like 25 years ago. Aren't I supposed to be an adult now, too old for such silly demonstrations of leaping joy for a parent to document? But nothing ever seems to change there. I'm always reduced to the innocence of a wide-eyed kid. 

     The springs were flowing out of their fissures at a high volume, and the spring run was flowing beautifully. Each day I lazed along in the canoe watching birds above - white ibis, limpkins, kingfishers, night herons, cormorants - and fish swim beneath me, and the subtle beauty of cypress changing color in the fall.

de-pantsing at Alligator Spring
Cardinal lobelias were blooming, which explode in their vivid redness without seeming rhyme nor reason at various times of year.

     We all hiked through the woods into Alligator Spring one afternoon, which was more beautiful than ever. Luckily there was no sign of its namesake. My cousin's 4 year old boy declared after he de-pantsed in preparation to jumping in: "I'm going nudie!"  While Florida usually misses the seasons, it was as beautiful fall weather as can exist, with nights in the 40's and days in the 70's. My cousin got me jumping in the main spring with him at 7 am with 45 degree air, and it was the best way to start the day. With a roaring fire going in the fireplace, we rushed back in to coffee and warmth afterward.

way down the spring run
 

My 14 year old nephew was deeply humiliated when I dragged him across the lawn at the main house by his feet after he rudely refused to go inside and get my cocktail for me (really, what is the young generation coming to?!). He then spent an afternoon mysteriously plotting revenge, which involved putting on latex gloves and disappearing for an hour, so I surmised it had something to do with cow shit. I made sure he couldn't get in my room at night, and seemed to be coasting through the next day home free. I was sitting near the dock watching my sister-in-law and mother kayak in the afternoon when I let him out of my sight for a bit.  His mother saw him sneaking up behind me while she was in her kayak, and motioned for me to look out.

my mother
I turned to see him creeping across the field toward me with a bucket of cow manure and managed to hightail it to the safety of the house just in time. His humiliation from the previous day was such he didn't seem to care how savage the retribution upon him would be, if he could just get me back this one time. Kids today - they even have a sense of entitlement about revenge.   When he went swimming, I disposed of the bucket in the woods, and having seen where he hid his back-up bucket, disposed of that too.

     At night my uncle had us over to his cabin to have some of the wild sow he had trapped, or huge feasts of barbecued chicken. Because wild pigs are an environmental disaster in Florida and throughout most of the rest of the country - due to a lack of predators - they're trying to cut down on their numbers at the ranch by trapping.

me taking a turn at milling
Taste-wise wild pigs can be a bit of a crapshoot, with the boar hogs being game-y and the sows with children can be too lean from weaning them. My uncle prefers a castrated boar hog - called a 'bar' - which has been released to fatten up. He had his eyes on some of the children of a sow he'd trapped, but the sow wounded itself in protective anger in the pen and he had to kill it. Not wanting to waste it, he roasted it before we arrived. While I thought it was perfectly reasonable, he apologized for the toughness and declared:  "I don't mind mercy killing, but there will be no more mercy eating."
  Sitting round the campfire at night at my uncle's cabin eating barbecued armadillo and pig, and roasting marshmallows, was as serene as could be.
main spring
One of the evenings someone pointed behind me, and I turned away from the fire to observe a huge deer watching from fifty yards away. It's nice to take part in a timeless way of living that isn't some forced or put-on idea of getting back to nature, but someone just living simply in the wilderness by the skills they have always known. Looking at his simple compound and out across the stands of cypress and oak, it could have been 2008 or 1908.
     I was hoping to stay longer than three days, but it was 72 hours of perfect bliss and I can't wait til I get back there again.

hirondellenhi says:
We will!!! I wish I could just take off and go! not a care in the world!
Posted on: Nov 23, 2008
Hurch says:
That's how he usually is, a lifeless bump on a log - he got unusually motivated by humiliation. Much as envy flatters me, more than anything I want one of y'all to come PLAAAAYYYYYYYY with meeeeeeee. Beeeeefore I'm in a wheelchair.
Posted on: Nov 21, 2008
hirondellenhi says:
seriously turning blue of envy!!!! on the good side, at least your nephew still put some energy in plotting revenge. Some kids have no emotion at all nor energy!!! You can poke and poke and they won't budge! Teenagers!!!
Posted on: Nov 21, 2008
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still a lil kid at heart
still a l'il kid at heart
de-pantsing at Alligator Spring
de-pantsing at Alligator Spring
way down the spring run
way down the spring run
my mother
my mother
me taking a turn at milling
me taking a turn at milling
main spring
main spring
cypress tree on the spring run
cypress tree on the spring run
father at Blue Sprring
father at Blue Sprring
the main spring
the main spring
my cousin trotting across the yard
my cousin trotting across the yard
main spring with house in backgrou…
main spring with house in backgro…
Alligator Spring
Alligator Spring
my cousin and his kid and friends…
my cousin and his kid and friend'…
my father reading at main spring
my father reading at main spring
the butlers cabin
the "butler's cabin"
hiking to Alligator Spring
hiking to Alligator Spring
pastoral scene
pastoral scene
hiking to Alligator
hiking to Alligator
immature white ibis
immature white ibis
Blue Spring
Blue Spring
my cousin
my cousin
my uncles place
my uncle's place
my mother and uncle
my mother and uncle
cousin August and his friend
cousin August and his friend
my mom in the main spring
my mom in the main spring
mom and nephew in main spring
mom and nephew in main spring
fambly and friends
fambly and friends
the pasture
the pasture
my uncles truck
my uncle's truck
kitchen
kitchen
wood shop
wood shop
rustic furniture my uncle built
rustic furniture my uncle built
my uncle milling a pine tree
my uncle milling a pine tree
remote shelter
remote shelter
my uncle making the last cut
my uncle making the last cut
rolling the planks out to the truck
rolling the planks out to the truck
rolling...rolling...
rolling...rolling...
getting ready to load up
getting ready to load up
mission accomplished
mission accomplished
deer hide my uncle was tanning
deer hide my uncle was tanning
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