Eeyore should so get more recognition

for his brilliance.

I did some serious listening recently ~ to the cabbage palms, in palmetto hammocks and oak scrubs.


You might call it my listening tour of Halpatiokee Regional Park. (Remember Hillary Clinton? She defined ‘listening tour’. She was out there with a pad and pencil, and every time you saw her she was in listening mode.)


Halpatiokee is a Seminole word.  It means ‘Alligator Water’.  Yes, they’re there. And they’re listening, too.  (Alligators hear with ears that are located behind their eyes and are very sensitive to vibrations in the water.)


I hiked the 3-mile trail that runs along the South Fork River and loops back to the trailhead inside the 470 acres of this wetland preserve. 


The area is a step back in time, to the days of old Florida. The quiet waters of the gently flowing river are tannin-colored. 

img_5762Like steeping tea bags, cypress trees stain the water a dark brown, but it’s clear, so you can see the fish below. 


Some of Florida’s most threatened and endangered species live here, eating and sheltering in scrub areas ~ like the gopher tortoise and the Florida scrub jay.

I met this guy slugging back to the scrub.

An amazing thing about the gopher tortoise is that it amiably shares its burrow with more than 350 other species. Burrowing owls, Florida mice, indigo snakes, opossums, rabbits, gopher frogs, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and gopher crickets enjoy good fellowship underground.


The gopher tortoise, its shelters, and burrow mates are protected by Florida law. This little shaver depends on it.

In the Sunshine State, every day is a perfect day to take a listening tour.


If you’re farther north, well……

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore.

“However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Toni 2/5/14


  1. Yes, it’s snowing and nowhere near the 80’s, but it’s good to be home. My darling neighbor delivered my newspaper with a smile (I love that man!) yesterday so I wouldn’t have to slog through 12 inches of snow. While I was spending January in Florida, he found himself having a stroke, but the qiuck drug intervention saved him from any damage. Yes, it’s cold, but my heart is happy to be back in my very own comfort zone! M.


  2. Love those gophers! We had lots here until they built the last set of condos and
    then I guess they moved elsewhere….or died of broken hearts! Sushi liked to jump
    on them and they didn’t seem to object!


  3. Poor Eeyore. He is from Winnipeg, Manitoba which is known for its harsh winters. I rather doubt he ever met any of these wonderful Florida creatures you have shared. Perhaps that is why he was always depressed. I am glad I get to see them through you.


  4. I bet Florida is saying “Thanks for noticing me,” just to coin another Eeyore quote.

    In your case you’re doing exactly what a young student of mine once did when he misspelled notice. He spelled it knotz. He explained (give him slack all ye grammarians and Noah Webster types…he was 6 years old) that he knew it began like the word know, “like you’re learning something.” I loved that idea.

    Keep leading the wide-awake life down there, Toni!

    I listened to Tom Ashcroft interview Carl Hiaasen today ( Big. Diverse. Complicated. And, yes yes, darn beautiful.



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