Falling Through the Cracks: To Florida Leaders

Falling Through the Cracks: To Florida Leaders

In parking lots across Florida, there are those who are waiting.  They are waiting for the promised check, the direct deposit, the life line that was promised amidst this horrible pandemic.  They understand that this is a new thing.  That it might take a little time.  They are waiting.  As they wait, they begin to notice that there are more people joining this open space waiting room.  Weeks have passed and still they wait.

It began with one car.  Days went by and I noticed that the car was there every night.  When a second car showed up, I decided to approach and ask if everything was okay.  The people in both cars were kind enough to talk to me.  I was a stranger.  On first meeting, my understanding was that one was just waiting for the stimulus and one had recently lost their job.  They were both okay and hopeful.  One declined any offer of help and had everything under control, they just needed that stimulus deposit and everything would be back to normal.  One did ask for some cold water if possible. It is Florida, it has been getting into the 90’s and a car, even in the shade, can be very unpleasant after a short time.  I took the ask.

A couple of weeks later and they are getting tired of hoping and waiting.  Flashes of frustration, anger, sadness and disbelief enter the conversations.  The stimulus check has still not appeared in the bank account.  A bank account the federal government has used for direct deposits for years.  The unemployment application is still “pending”.  They both have plans waiting to execute.  All they need are the checks that they have been told are coming.  As the weeks have passed, more cars, trucks, and trailers have joined the back lot impromptu camping ground.  They are teaching each other tricks.  Park in this area. Get a cup of ice from this store so you can have cold water through the day.

I gave up my keychain pepper spray.  You need to at least crack your window for some air movement when you sleep.

They still hope.

This is all new.  I do not expect massive new programs or program expansions to be flawless overnight.  Neither do they.  What they need is the money or a way to expedite the process.  Direction on what to do next.  They are spending their days looking for answers on the news, on social media, during press conferences.  At least one has reached out to their representatives. But the the only answer has been to wait.  How long can they wait?  The crack they have fallen into only seems to get deeper with every day.

(To be clear, this is not about party.  I have not talked politics in the waiting room.  If I had to guess from their comments, I would say one is Republican, and I have no idea about the other)

The Old Guard

Something Dry for a Hurricane Week

Did a little photo shoot during my getaway.  The place where I took the video and most of the pictures has likely been shut down for a couple of days until they are 100% about the hurricane and storm surge.  The beach was already much less busy than usual.  The only one I had seen driving on the beach was a lifeguard, so I about fell out when an ice cream truck drove past. (Daytona Beach has sections that allow people to drive and park on the beach.)

Blue Springs Florida Getaway

Blue Springs Florida Getaway

Blue Springs State Park in Florida is the “winter home to the manatee”.  During the summer months you can catch a manatee hanging out there, but during the winter, the spring run is filled up with manatees enjoying the consistent temperature of the spring water.

If you are thinking about visiting:

They have cabins and campgrounds available. There are 6 cabins surrounded by woods.  Each (as far as I know) has a front porch, 2 bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, dining table, family room, air conditioning, and a gas fireplace that is shut off in summer months.  Outside each is a grill, table, and fire pit. There is a camp store on property that has small items you may have forgotten/need and a sandwich shop.  Right next to the camp store is a souvenir shop and a place to rent tubes for the spring. The Blue Spring Park has picnic tables scattered in several areas and a large covered pavilion.  There is a wood/sidewalk boardwalk along the length of the spring run with look out areas scattered throughout. There are hand rails on the hill portions at a height that appears designed to assist wheelchair users.  There are 2 main areas with access to the swim area and are spaced so that you can put in at one spot and relax to let the current take you to the second access point if you wish.  I did not notice a way for a wheelchair to access the swim out areas but I also did not ask the park staff about options, so please contact the park to inquire if you are planning a visit. (link to park website)  Everyone I spoke at Blue Springs was really nice and more than helpful.

Blue Springs empties into the St. John’s River and there are kayak, canoe and boat tours available from inside the park.  I have been on a couple of boat tours (from outside tour companies) over the years, and it really is a wonderful way to see the area.  The tours last around 2 hours and your are almost 100% sure to see birds, turtles, gators, and plenty of various foliage.

I posted a camera about 20 feet outside a cabin and caught some good images.

During my visit, the swim area was closed for all but the last morning due to a gator hanging out in the safety zone.  I saw the trappers looking for him the first night I was there but they did not catch up to him until the second night.  A local resident, that has been swimming there every day for years, told the story of how an old time gator had killed a friend a couple years ago.  The gator had been around back when it was common for people to feed gators.  The theory was that after the victim, and a couple of others, swam past him and did not feed him, that the gator got mad and went after them.

I heard this story right after I had just enjoyed a quick dip in the spring.  I was the only one around when the rangers had opened the swim area and could not resist.  The current is a little more noticeable in this spring compared to others that I have been to, so I am sure the tubing is popular.

The sunrise photos were taken from the east coast of Florida that looks to have escaped a direct hit by the hurricane.  Blue Springs State Park was closing early the day I left due to Hurricane Dorian.

(Warning Spiders 🙂

Wildlife Drive

Wildlife Drive

 

Sights that were very helpful in trying to ID some of the birds”

https://www.floridasnature.com/florida_birds.html

Online bird guide, bird ID help, life history, bird sounds from Cornell

A 2 hour tour

A 2 hour tour

I decided to revisit the same boat tour that I took in 2013

The location seemed different and the captain was different.  At check in, I was informed that they had moved 3 years ago.  I must not have looked too lost as 2 different people asked me for directions and specifics about the boat.

I am still trying to get used to the new lens.  It is a lot less forgiving than what I was using.  Just about everything on the roll was out of focus.

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anhinga

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mama gator

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baby gators

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Great egret

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Limpkin mama and baby

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Limpkin mama not happy about our boat

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Green around the Egret eye because- time to mate!

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Is the turtle on the right trying to fly?

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Food fight

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Bridge to Heaven

Bridge to Heaven

I have been playing with some photos from a recent trip to St. George Island off Florida’s panhandle.

May I present to you, the bridges to heaven and hell…

 

Her Now heavens bridge-publish

 

 

Her Now Hells bridge

 

PSA: Please be very careful about the time of year and where you are when using any white lights near the beach.  Baby turtles can get confused by artificial lights and lose their way.