My kind of Florida

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When I tell people I’m from Florida, they think south Florida: white sand, hotels, endless sun. When I think about it I see this: Deserted beach, saw grass and hoards of fiddler crabs.

I’m not saying southern Florida doesn’t have its charms but it kinda like the difference between a candy apple and the real apple. I will always be grateful to the natives of this place who showed me its beauty and made me fall in love with the cry of gulls and the scuttle of crabs.

The shore birds and lazy fishermen, waiting for the right moment. Oyster beds seen with a bucket and a net, not as mud covered dangers. The smell of the estuaries at low tide, the mud rich and life-giving. The thousands of tiny life forms that will grow into all the wonderful creatures we recognize.

I think about the animals here and their delicate hold on life and I wonder why the concrete jungle is more appealing. I have found in myself at times afraid of the quiet, of the open spaces that make me recognize my place as a part of this world not its owner. It is hard to look at the wonder of creation and then disregard its right to be here too.

I am so grateful that I was taught to love nature as it is, not as I would have it be. That animals have a right to be here too and my wants and needs should be in balance with those of all living things. And I am encouraged that there are so many others who know my kind of Florida and are doing what they can to keep it that way. So here’s to natural beaches un-sculpted by the hands of man, left as they were created to be.

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