I was walking Z this morning on a boardwalk over black, swampy water, surrounded by tall scrub pine and cedar trees, and the thought occurred to me that this is a place that should be mosquito heaven. The fact that the mosquito population isn’t madly flourishing makes me a little uneasy, in fact, wondering, well, why not? Is the ground absolutely permeated with pesticide? I’m hoping that it’s actually the plethora of birds keeping the mosquito population down.
During the same walk, I was thinking that what I needed to post to represent my current location was not a photo but an audio file, because the birds were a delightful musical cacophony. For most of my life, my interpretations of bird sounds were pretty much the ones I read in books. Like a book will tell you that a pigeon coos, so when I heard the sound of pigeons, I automatically called it a coo. But when I heard the owls back in December in Wildwood (and now several times since–I recognize it now!), it didn’t sound like a “hoot” at all to me. A “whoa-whoa-whoooa,” maybe, but I guess I heard that W sound more than a pure H. Anyway, one of my recent morning walk entertainments is deciding what the birds are saying, and the birds on this morning’s walk were saying a lot. I should try to find out what kind of birds live in this park, because I suspect the tat-tat-tat-ta noises were woodpeckers, but there were at least four or five other types of birds chatting away, too.
So Blackwater River State Park — the campsites are big, gravel lots, with plenty of space between neighbors, but the trees between them are sparser, so it feels more populated than my tucked away little corner at Grayton. There are only about 30 campsites, and the sites are definitely farther away from one another, so it’s not literally more crowded, it’s just that from my windows, I see trucks and campers, instead of trees and plant life. That said, it’s still vastly nicer than lots of campgrounds. I passed one on my way here that was all neat little rows of expensive big RVs and I was so, so glad that I wasn’t stopping there. I’m sure it was a nice place, but it’s not the kind of camping experience that feeds my soul.
Lying in bed last night, I was looking out my window at the tall, tall scrub pine trees — I’m pretty bad at estimating sizes, but fifty feet high maybe? — and the stars in the dark night sky behind them. Zelda was curled up next to me, and it was nice and cold, so I was snuggled under my blankets. I was thinking how incredibly big Florida really is — I’ve been collecting state park stamps in my state park passport, picked up at Lake Louisa, and I’ve got eight, plus two parks that I went to before I got the stamp. So I’ve been to ten different Florida state parks. Only 138 to go! One hundred and thirty-eight left!! And if it took me four months to go to 10 parks, then it’ll take me another four and a half years or so to go to all of them. Four and a half years, just to explore Florida properly. Except that tomorrow I’m headed to Alabama and next week to Mississippi and yeah, more Florida will have to wait. But as I was thinking about how big Florida is, and then how big the United States is, and then how big the world is, I was still looking at the stars and I realized, no, we’re actually incredibly tiny. It was both comforting and somehow… joyous? I don’t know, it made me feel very happy. So I cuddled Z and went back to sleep.