Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Although I complain about it an absurd amount, Florida is occasionally lovely. And this shouldn't surprise anyone; any place, given the benefit of the doubt or just some nice lighting, contains the potential for loveliness. Growing up, I got to do many things that you only get to do in tropical places.
I swam with dolphins; or, more accurately, got moved about by dolphins. We would tie my little boat onto the side of my aunt's fishing boat and the dolphins, amused by a new visitor, would bounce their noses against it. I would fall out, and cry, because I was pretty sure they were doing it on purpose. We also swam with manatees a lot. Crystal River, where my aunt lives, is where they hang out. Manatees are slow moving, gentle creatures. They don't do much and they're really not that interesting except in that they're endangered now.
I saw alligators often, and they saw me. And not once did one ever try to eat me, not even when I was trapped under a canoe in their river.
I visited (and then tried to stay away from) the Everglades, which is an incredibly diverse bioregion.
I did sea turtle patrol, watching over the eggs after they were laid to make sure nothing tried to dig them up. The payoff for late nights in the sand was that we got to watch the baby turtles hatch and make their way down to the water.
I lived through Hurricane Elena.
I once followed a rain shower down the street, because it was only about three feet wide.

None of this makes me look at it any more kindly; I still would rather, I don't know, chew off a foot than live there again. But I thought you should know.

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