Walk Along the River Bank

My co-worker suggested I drive to Rodman Dam, in the middle of the Ocala National Forrest, for a nature walk with my family and dog.  And so, with the water levels so low thanks to the dam, we took a walk along the river bank on a cool February morning.

On one side of the dam, death intermingles with life to provide a lovely, yet eerie sight. Dead trees lay all around the edge of the river, and poke through the water like bones, bare and dry.

Within the decay, life sprouts and flourishes on.  Ospreys nest and fly overhead.

Coots – THOUSANDS of them – happily and peacefully float and swim.

A solitary crane lazily wades through the water.

My pit, Bruce, watched, played and ran, having the time of his life…

And we humans enjoyed ourselves too!

The other side of the dam was different, more alive.  People were fishing.  Birds were flying.  Trees were green.

As the day’s excursion ends and we drive back home through the dirt roads which take us there, we notice an alarming and distinctive threat on the few stop signs we find along the way.  Maybe we should have seen the warnings – but the drive encircled us with beauty, solitude and peace.  A perfect end to a beautiful day.  And so, the bullet holes almost went unnoticed!

PS: There is an environmental fight taking place to tear down the dam and restore a stretch of the Ocklawaha River, east of Gainesville.  Taking this walk and looking at these pictures tells the story.  (If interested, you can read more about it in this Orlando Sentinel article.)