EEYORE SHOULD SO GET MORE RECOGNITION FOR HIS BRILLIANCE.
I did some serious listening recently, in palmetto hammocks and oak scrubs.
You might call it my listening tour of Halpatiokee Regional Park.
Remember anthropologist Margaret Mead? She defined ‘listening tour’. She was out there on the Sepik River with a pad and pencil, and every time you see her with the natives of Papua New Guinea, she’s 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 this 470- acre wetland preserve.
The area is a step back in time, to the days of old Florida.
Like steeping tea bags, cypress trees stain the quiet water a dark brown, but it’s so clear that 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 schlepping 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, all enjoy good fellowship underground.
In the Sunshine State, every day is a perfect day to take a listening tour.