Nature Walks – Beach Survey
Today I took off on a drive to the beaches, starting first at North Peninsula State Park. As I drove down Old King’s Highway, I noted the piles of drying debris, timber and branches, as storm clean-up continues throughout the county. The narrow Walter Boardman Lane, that crosses Bulow Creek in northern Volusia County, was lined with piles of tree debris, although the Bulow Woods Trail looked like it had already been cleared. The county and state parks are doing everything they can to open up the parks back to recreation users… which is their livelihood.
I paused at the turn-out off SR A1A for the beach access for North Peninsula State Park. The beach was closed, but I still snapped a couple of photos of the strong surf coming in off a silvery ocean. Next, I wandered up the road to Flagler Beach and looked at the beach at Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area. This beach was also closed, primarily as the walk-over had been wiped out by the storm. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, walk-overs are ramps, sometimes involving stairs to get beach-goers over the sensitive dunes to the beach sands. A lot of these wooden structures were demolished by the strong storm surge during Hurricane Matthew and might take a while to rebuild.
Foiled by a second no-go, I turned my attention inland and drove across the highway to the main section of Gamble Rogers, which has a boat ramp, picnic and camping, as well as a nice little nature trail. The boat access leads to the Intercostal. Fishing is allowed off the fish decks.
The nature trail starts with a butterfly garden, a sweet little corner that was buzzing with butterflies and bumblebees, although the flowers were a bit thin today. The trail itself loops through typical coastal strand scrub, with its twisted live sand oaks, redbay, saw palmetto, Sabal Palm (cabbage palm), Southern Red Cedar and Yaupon (a native holly). Yes, I’m starting to be able to identify the local flora. There were also some tiny white flowers beginning to bloom in one part of the trail; not sure what that is called.
After I finished this little tidbit of a walk, I drove to the Nature Preserve located in Flagler Beach, off of Flagler Avenue and South 7th Street, near the Library. The ramp was in good shape. It even looked like some of the decking had been replaced recently. I walked out to the fishing pier and then to the boat ramp and back again. All the trails have been cleared, although there is some debris to pick up eventually… if they are going to clear it. Black mangrove, cedar, oak, Yaupon and saw palmetto find home in this dense swamp on the edge of the Intercoastal Waterway. Mangrove is especially thick, defining watery islands of dense branches, edged by black air roots reaching above the dark brown water. It is a rich environment, filled with fish, bobcats, alligators, turtles, crabs, birds and the like. I spotted several fisher birds today, including egret and heron, as well as a talkative osprey perched high above on a dead tree.
Construction is proceeding rapidly on SR A1A. Apparently the contractor is eligible for a $1 million bonus if they are able to complete work by November 8th, Election Day. The lanes will be narrow, and the speed limit 25 MPH, but the highway will be re-opened, much to the joy of citizen and business owner alike. Businesses have suffered due to the lack of access and parking. And residents have been impacted especially in the south end of Flagler Beach due to cars and trucks using the side streets as detours.
After I completed this second walk, I drove further north along SR A1A, observing the continued progress on the storm clean-up… which has quite a ways to go from what I saw. I drove to the Jungle Hut beach access, a county park located just north of Hammock Dunes Resort and Golf Club. This park was in better shape than many I have seen recently. The beach was open, although at the time I got there, the tide was just going off high. The storm surge and wicked winds of Matthew had shredded the coastal shrubs and palm trees, as well as displacing tons of beach sands. The approach to the ocean is now rather steep, with a drop of four or five feet, making it awkward to walk on at high tide. There was also a ton of debris scattered all over the sands, still waiting to be cleaned up. Still, there was a modest crowd of sunbathers, surf fishermen and walkers on the beach lapping up the filtered sunshine and cooling breezes today.
Self-care is very important these days as tensions continue to arise in the “outer” world. The collective dark side of humanity is being uncovered and it is difficult to deal with the imbalance of people’s emotions, yet it can be done if one endeavors to remain as neutral and balanced in outlook as possible.
While I have been a Native American in past lives, I find that I cannot solely identify with their present struggle… which is one that underlines the disparity in approaches to natural resources and the lack of respect politicians and corporations have for humanity. I am a citizen of the planet and of the Galaxy. I see with my heart that all people present have roles to play, that all have value and worth and that all are part of the wholeness that is ALL THAT IS. I cannot condemn another for choices made or lessons unlearned.
I pray for the healing of the planet and of its people. Whether or not these things come to past, it is important to continually hold an immaculate concept of what already is… somewhere… of the ultimate potential of all life here. Neutrality and balance in all things… as much as is humanly possible… is what I aim for. I am sending unconditional love, Violet Flame and compassion to both sides of all conflicts, that they be resolved according to the highest good of all concerned.
May your days bring forth much joy… a joy undiminished and unaffected by whatever is occurring in the outer world.
I AM Eliza Ayres
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, www.bluedragonjournal.com
Photo Credits: North Peninsula and Graham Rogers State Parks, Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve, Jungle Hut Beach Access, Flagler County, Florida