Nature Walks – “Winter Marsh”
After nearly two weeks, I resumed my local hikes on a cool wintry day in NE Florida. Since I will be moving south to Palm Beach County towards the end of March, I was eager to get out to visit some of my favorite walking spots while I still can. Today, it was Princess Place Preserve, a Flagler County Park, that was originally a grand private estate.
The park was quiet it still being a weekday. As I headed out on the Hominy Branch Trail, I climbed up the little hill and plunged into the oak and pine forest. Along the way, I finally saw concrete evidence of feral pigs in the area, besides their dainty hoof prints in the soft sandy trail and the dug up areas where they had been foraging for fallen acorns. Somehow the pigs were so engrossed in eating their breakfast that they didn’t hear me at all and I was able to get some clear photos of the grouping. When I got off a few shots, I called out, “Here, piggy piggy!” a couple of times to give them warning of my approach. The black pigs scattered into the underbrush. I was glad of that, as feral pigs can be potentially very dangerous little beasties. They did look very well fed, fattening up on acorn mast and pignut hickory.
The trail was well churned up in places due to the pig activities, but still a pleasant walk. The crossing of Hominy Branch and then Stiles Creek were uneventful. It was too windy to get in any bird photos, as most of them appeared to be hiding. When I reached Princess Place Road, I walked towards the Lodge. I’ve gotten in the habit of stringing several of the trails together without returning to my car.
The park staffers are still in the process of cleaning up after the effects from Hurricane Matthew. Dangerous uprooted and broken trees are being cut down and removed from trails and open areas. Even the old fishing pier was apparently destroyed or weakened in the storm and has now been removed.
Today wasn’t a good day for many wildlife sightings beyond that of the feral pigs. The windy conditions were keeping birds hunkered down in shelter; the tide was low, as well, as can be seen in the photo above of the remnants of the old fishing pier. Still, I headed out on another one of my favorite walks, the Creekside Trail.
After returning to the car, I also drove on the Loop Road towards Moody Cut and stopped there briefly. It was too windy to linger long.
The wild Sabal Palms (aka Cabbage Palm) are quite a contrast to the better groomed palms of the SE coast of Florida with its manicured and hedged gardens. I like both… but prefer wild spaces when I can get to them.
I recently spent 12 days in SE Florida, in the “village” of Delray Beach. It is an attractive city, not really a village, although it has a village-like atmosphere along popular Atlantic Avenue, the main drag through the older part of the town. The town is filled with small shops, restaurants and parks, as well as quiet neighborhoods and shopping areas. The beach is nice, but there is paid parking in most areas, and not all the coastline is readily accessible due to the ocean-side neighborhoods complete with multi-million dollar sprawling mansions and lush gardens. The area is quite a contrast to the “old Florida” feel of areas like Flagler Beach and the more recent “planned” communities like Palm Coast. I still shake my head in wonder as to how and why I ever arrived (and still remain) in Florida. It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list two years ago!
If you are planning a trip to Florida in the winter bring a nice selection of clothes suitable for casual wear, with some sweaters or light jackets as early morning and evenings can be a tiny bit chilly… that is if you are used to normal Florida weather. Bring walking shoes and your sunglasses, too. I saw lots of people out walking, on the beach, along A1A, in the neighborhoods, downtown… in lots of different places. Delray Beach and neighboring town / cities also have more shopping opportunities, including a Traders Joe and a Fresh Market, for more organic selections, both located south near Linton Avenue, as well as a great health food store called Greenlands, located off Hwy 1, in the north end of town.
On a more personal note, I met my “sister” RaNia Kumara VaCoupe, who is a walk-in. It was thrilling to meet and spend time with RaNia, just to be able to talk freely about everything having to do with home, metaphysics, world events, geopolitics and what have you. Unless one has spent years of being isolated and alone, as many light workers have done, you cannot imagine the joy of feeling fully accepted and understood by another human being while still living on this planet. I will be writing further about the walk-in / walk out process, which I am, myself, now undergoing. It is a highly individual process that is difficult to explain, but I’ll do my best.
So, there you have it… a short update on what is going on in my world. And thanks to the individuals who sent me some donations recently. The cost for maintaining this blog without ads comes out of my own pockets. I want to retain it as a place of learning and reflection on our changing inner and outer journeys, mine as well as that of my readers, for in each other’s stories we find things that resonate with our own story.
Many blessings to all as Spring approaches in the northern latitudes and winter in the south. There are so many changes coming into our world now; just do your best and enjoy life to the fullest extent possible by doing what you love, with those who you love.
Eliza Ayres (aka Tazjma / Sundeelia)
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com
Photo Credits: Princess Place Preserve, Flagler County; Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida (all photos taken by Eliza with a Nikon Coolpix 830).