Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

I took a walk in the woods this morning. It always strikes me how primitive some areas of it look--like no one has ever seen what I was discovering. Other areas have obviously suffered the hands of man. It pains me to see the litter left by others. Don't get me wrong--the stuff that decomposes naturally, such as leaves and yard trimmings, don't bother me in the least.  It is the shit that has no business being out in the woods. Take, for example, carpeting:
There are at least a dozen old pieces of carpet out on the trails.  This particular piece is so old, I have no idea what color it was originally--just pee-soaked grey (every dog that walks the trails inevitably waters the carpet they encounter).  There is a mound of green carpeting that our dog Ghost is scared of, which of course, makes me scared: was it ripped out of a house that a murder occurred in? Is there a decomposing body wrapped in it? Is it home to poisonous spiders?  I give it a wide berth. I was actually taking a picture of the trash behind the carpet when I snapped this.  Hard to see, but there is an old tennis shoe, plastic, metal, Styrofoam, and all kinds of stuff that make it look like a landfill instead of a nature path. Ugh. Sometimes, people really suck!

Look, a garden snake!
Oh, is just an old discarded garden hose. There a several of these out there, too. Why? They look so out of place on the trail. But they are there, along with old cinder block, old car parts, and several old tires of every shape and size.

It truly seems like a place time has forgotten. There is lichen that looks like it comes from another planet:

and there is a LOT of sawtooth palmetto and Spanish moss:

The trails are over-grown in some place,
While other places look more like a beach than the middle of the woods:
You have to be careful of the cactus, or you can get a nasty poke or scratch. It is everywhere--just ask our poor dogs. I have pulled a cactus spine out of Suzie's paw, and she has yipped more than once not watching where she is going.  She had a big abscess on her face, and I think it was from getting poked by one of these suckers.

But the one thing that really strikes me is the flowers. There is literally every color out there:

And speaking of orange, we have an orange grove close by:

and when the trucks go by full of oranges, and they take the curve, some oranges will roll out. Then we get road oranges!
Our neighbor brings me bags' full of road oranges.
Once they fall of the truck, they are fair game. These are juice oranges--very sweet!
I spend a lot of time looking down while I am walking out in the woods. You know why? Because you get to see all kinds of critter tracks out there! There are tons of tracks of the human and canine variety.  But today, I stumbled upon these:

Millipede tracks!  I only know this, as Bud and I watched one last night as it walked (?) across the sand.  They are about 4 to 5 inches long, and make centipedes look tiny.

I also saw this on the trail:

Gotta be a snake, don't you think? Or a really big worm, but I think it was a little snake...

I was serenaded by the Sandhill cranes while I was out walking. They were close by, but I could never catch a glimpse of them. I am sure they have a nest out there somewhere.  I did catch a glimpse of these, however;

Sandhill Crane prints! Cool, huh? There is also another millipede trail along the top, and a size 7 Birkenstock print on the bottom right.

You have probably heard about the sinkholes in Florida. They are very real.  There are at least two of them out in the woods. Here is one I found today. It is about three feet deep.
Can't really tell in this shot how deep it is--I didn't want to get too close to it. If one of these can make a whole house disappear, I don't want to chance it...

I could have taken more pictures, but the battery was running low. I love walking the trails. Bud? Not so much. It can be a little unnerving out there. The sound of the lizards in the undergrowth produces a noise much louder than you think little lizard would make.  And there are all kinds of wildlife out there: wild pigs, bear, alligators. The trails run close to the lake in some places, and the alligators come into the woods to lay their eggs in the sandy soil. And since it is that time of year...and the bugs.  Yeah, it is Florida, and after all the rain, there are lots of skeeters, gnats, and love bugs.  And the ever-present fire ants.  You have to watch where you are walking as they are everywhere.

That said, it won't keep me out of the woods.  It really calms me out there.  I am, after all, a nature girl at heart. I just wanted to share a few pics and show you around my little piece of happiness.


  1. Absolutely beautiful photos! How wonderful to have such a beautiful trail close to home. You seem very at peace and happy, I am glad for you after all you've gone through in recent years. Keep writing!!

  2. Thanks, New #3! I am in a good space right now. It is nice to feel more positive than negative for once. Sure, I can always find things to complain about. But then I take a walk, and the problems seem small.

    Bottom line is, I have a life partner I love beyond measure; I have a job I really, really like; my sugar is doing fine; I am in the land of sun and sand; we live in a very tigh-knit community; I am minutes away from my dad and step-mom 6 months out of the year, with access to a pool and hot tub; our pets are happy--life is good!

  3. I loved the post and pictures. But I wonder if the carpets and hose and stuff were perhaps swept there by Mother Nature from somewhere else. It seems odd that people would drag items like that onto pathways. More likely to dump them close to a road.

  4. Wish we could blame mother nature, but it is deliberate dumping. The picture above of the non-descript carpet is a major dump site out there, smack dab in the middle of the woods. Everyone in this community has golf carts or mules, so they just drag stuff they don't want out into the woods. Some make an effort to "bury" the refuse--they cover it with branches or yard trimmings to hide it. But others just don't care.

    There IS one interesting piece out there that I suspect was a victim of a hurricane: a 15 foot canvas banner with the name of a business emblazoned on it. It has been sitting in a heap since we arrived; we originally thought it was one of those inflatable pools that had been discarded out in the woods like so much other unnecessary rubbish. But one day, while Bud was out walking the dogs, he found it complete stretched out across the path so he could read it. Weird! Why would someone do that? Curiousity?

    Another theory of mine is that they use the old carpet for "traction". There is a lot of sugar sand out in the woods. In some spots, you would swear you were on a beach. I think they use the old carpet to cover spots where they tend to get bogged down in the sand...just a theory.

    I really, REALLY want to go out there and clean stuff up, but I am afraid to unsettle the wildlife that has adapted and turned some of the refuse into shelter. I will, however, make a day of it and pick up the beer bottles, water bottles, and other easily retrieved items. So stupid, as the garbage trucks run TWICE a week here--just no excuse other that people too lazy to tote their empty bottles and wrappers back home with them.



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