"The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won..."
--from "Ode on Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth--
May in Florida takes us miles from home to visit someone special on the Atlantic coast. We decide to try a new route, leaving the interstate highway for a more leisurely pace and a look at what the heart of Florida has to offer. Silver River State Park in Ocala would be a great place to spend a few days if we had the time. We have only a couple of hours to stop and stretch our legs. Trail signs direct us to visit the spring-fed Silver River, but strange, hairy plants sprouting from tree trunks beckon us to stop and wonder at them and other oddities along the way. I suspect that these plants are some type of bromeliad, and this excellent site I found, jacksbromeliads.com, appears to confirm that suspicion.
If I'm wrong about the bromeliad identification, I can rest easy. I know there are bloggers out there who will kindly help me. Julie and Claude really know their stuff when it comes to succulents and other plants like the bromeliads that thrive without a lot of water. Visits to their blogs and discoveries along the trail help me appreciate the beauty and hardy nature of these plants.
Daughter made cupcakes for Mother's Day 2009, using a Red Velvet cake mix. We stayed up late Saturday night getting them baked and laughing about that armadillo groom's cake in the movie Steel Magnolias. I threatened to make one for her future groom. Who doesn't love a gray cake with a red center that looks like road kill? But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the journey east and trail I go.
Silver River lives up to its name, flowing like a silver thread through the park, providing a cool, mineral-rich home for fish and the fowl that feed on them.
People with more time than we have to spend at the park find canoes available for a reasonable rental cost. The park ranger at the fee station suggests getting an early start if visiting on the weekend. Canoes for rent are a hot commodity on this cool river, especially during the summer months.
When we reach the river at the end of a boardwalk, we spy a small alligator making its way to our shore. It disappears behind some brush, and we hear a loud splash. I hope it's not one of those lovely birds we see diving for fish. A sudden noise behind me makes my heart skip a beat or two. An elderly gentleman laughs when I sheepishly admit that I thought he was an alligator sneaking up on us. He takes his place along the boardwalk with a much nicer camera than I have. I pray he gets a chance to enjoy and capture whatever we will miss as the light softens and the day comes to an end. We leave him alone and retrace our steps along the trail back to the car.
The lady we have come so far to see celebrates a long life, 92 years in 2009. A sister-in-law graciously provides a cake (not an armadillo, thank goodness!) for all of us present to share, and we think about the ones who are absent and missed.
"...Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."
--from Wordsworth's poem as above--