I love camping. I love nature. I love spontaneous camping trips.
I complain all the time about living Florida. It is flat. It is crowded. South Florida is totally overdeveloped with golf courses, gated communities, shopping centers, and plastic surgery offices. A commonly seen bumper sticker reads “Leaving Florida? Take a developer!” Seriously. It is like every patch of wildspace down here was seen only as potential profit, and then flattened. “Why?” you may ask. ”Because we need another store.” Grrr.
So, I complain about Florida. It’s true. I do. But I shouldn’t. I should share the beautiful spots I know of, so others can experience the magic for themselves.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~ Chief Seattle
I woke up Saturday morning and got a text from a friend “room in the car if you want to go on a last minute camping trip.” ”Umm duh”. I thought. I wrote back “Yes. of course!!!!” So in less than thirty minutes, we were packed and heading out the door. To a place called Fisheating Creek.
Interestingly, The last time I went to Fisheating Creek was exactly a year before, on another spontaneous camping trip. That was a big EarthFirst! campout. Which was inspiring and fun. Tons of workshops and people, music and laughter. But this time there were only a few of us. This time was about being quiet, feeling nature, and healing.
We arrived and set up our tents. My son and a friend went to collect firewood. So, I was alone. I decided to go explore. I walked slowly through an oak forest. I saw the most beautiful tree. Without even thinking, I floated towards the tree, sat down and began to meditate.
There was magic happening.
I thanked the tree with a hug and a kiss and went back to our campsite. A little while later we all went exploring. We waded across the shallow part of the creek and picked a few wild oranges. They were super sour but fun to eat.
We saw so many beautiful cypress trees.
Cypress trees are beyond words. But “Healer” is one word that comes to mind.
The night was crisp. We had a big fire and ate our cans of beans “”hobo” style. We talked and told stories. Including a “ not so spooky” ghost story. There were speechless moments as we stared up at the night sky. We stayed warm by the fire. And listened to the song of the coyotes nearby.
As the fire slowly burnt out and our eye lids grew heavy, we made our way to our tents. It was cold. I shivered until sleep arrived. The next morning I woke early, built another fire (to defrost), did some restorative yoga and explored the woods. Then we all had breakfast, got in the canoe and paddled down the creek.
There were shallow areas where one person (thanks Cara!) had to get out and pull us into deeper water.
It was a peaceful adventure. We saw hawks, osprey, egrets, and a few turtles. We saw deer tracks, panther tracks too. But it was too cold for the Alligators…
Florida, I really do love you, the real you. Always.