The opening of 2017 was a warm winter day (70s) where I live, complete with fast rolling clouds that happily unleashed sporadic sprinkles at regular intervals. It was on the spur of the moment that I decided to take my daughter and my friend to Falling Waters State Park, a place I’m quite familiar with, as it is only a 20 minute drive from where I live. The magnanimous park ranger who greeted us at the entrance gate informed us that we were in for a treat, since the heavy rains from the previous day meant that the centerpiece of the park, Florida’s tallest waterfall, was just gushing with excitement to greet her visitors. Such news put a smile on all of our faces.

I don’t know what it is about water that so draws the human species to her bosom, but there absolutely is something simply magical about her qualities that can’t quite be explained. When the three of us trekked down the steep stairs to pay tribute to the loveliness of this sweet little waterfall, there truly was some quality in the air that eluded description. The cold updrafts we all felt rising up from where the water crashes into the bottom of a spectacular 73 foot sinkhole were meant to be savored. A dad with his young family was tossing out dry leaves that caught the currents, flowing upward toward the trees, defying physics, at least for a moment or two. The children squealed with clueless delight.

The spray that wrapped all around everyone with a refreshing fine mist was enough to make us all want to linger a bit longer…and a bit longer. And the air, itself, so delicious in the lungs, filled with the natural aromas of the forest all around…quite beyond description and something to be experienced first-hand to appreciate its full impact on the soul.

An intimate moment. An opportunity to commune with one another. A time to walk slowly, hand-in-hand, without hurry, stopping often to take in the sights and sounds that only Nature can offer. Do we do this as much as we could…or should? No. Squeeze Nature in when and where we can is, I think, our M.O. as the dominant tenant on the block, with less and less allotment for the primal untamed world from which we sprang only seconds ago on the geological time scale.

I noticed that much of the trail a visitor is usually able to enjoy not only remained in the same disrepair I found it in more than a full year ago, but was now under complete quarantine. The portion of the park that normally offered placards to the uninformed, identifying the same various flora the Spaniards would have encountered upon their arrival to La Florida 400 years ago, was now entirely off limits. Rather sad in my estimation, and just a bit irresponsible. To my eye, it seemed to smack of budgetary gaps. A five dollar entry fee for vehicles that trickle in slowly I would imagine probably leaves much to be desired in the way of mandatory and ongoing park repair and maintenance. Maybe I was conjuring the whole thing up and the causes were something else entirely. Probably not.

I love Nature. My daughter loves Nature. I capitalize the word out of the reverence I feel for the something, the wonderful fresh green something that’s disappearing so fast from view, and all that comes along with it.

Go visit a state park with your family. They will love you for it. At least I hope so.

Sincere thanks for stopping by!