Posts Tagged ‘Anhinga Trail’


Turtles on the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong. – F. Scott Fitzgerald.

NaNoWriMo Update … 45,088

I got my ending written today. But not too worry, I have plenty of scenes to add that will bring my book up to 50,000 words. My goal is to do 2,500 words on Monday and 2,500 on Tuesday, and post my book to NaNo on Thursday.

I was worried about getting the ending finished before the deadline. To have it done has taken some of the stress off the last few days. Originally I planned to do 2,000 words a day. By day 15 that plan was already in the garbage, although I was halfway through the book at that point.

When I started, I also knew who was the murderer in my murder mystery. I was surprised when it turned out to be someone else. Another surprise is how much better I felt I was writing toward the end. My characters stopped being as stilted as they were at the beginning.

I don’t know about anybody else out there, but this has been a major learning experience for me. One, I now feel more confident about completing a big project. I feel I’ve written some very bad scenes that will end up in the trash can, and some scenes with lots of possibilities.

So now my biggest worry is that my computer won’t play tricks on me before Thursday, or that we have a big earthquake here in Texas that takes out all the power lines. In other words my worry has shifted outward away from inward. It just wouldn’t seem right not to have something to worry about.

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 “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” — James Bryant Conant

These two turtles claimed a pond at Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Arkansas as home. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 Travels With Maggie

 My youngest daughter collects turtles. I gave her one made out of St. Helen’s ash for Christmas that I picked up last July when I visited the volcano. I’ve also given her carved wooden turtles bought during my Africa and Galapagos Island trips a few years back.

 Finding turtle replicas as I travel is not hard. You can find them in any souvenir store and being hawked by local, enterprising street venders. I guess my daughter isn’t the only turtle collector out there.

Having something to collect is part of the fun of traveling. In my earlier days, after realizing I didn’t want a lot of dust collectors around my home, I started a collection of Christmas ornaments. I reasoned I could get them out once a year, enjoy the memories they brought to mind, and then put them away.

 When my home became a 22-foot RV, I passed the collection down to my daughter. It was a good choice because I still get to recall my past travels when I spend Christmas with her. 

These two turtle made their home beside the Anhinga Trail in Florida's Everglades. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 Today I collect books and pictures as my souvenirs. The books I give away after I’ve read, and the pictures I keep stored on my computer. A recent perusal of these photos made me realize, in my own way, that I was a collector of turtles, too.

There’s something about the composition of light on water and turtles on a log or rock that prompts me to reach for my camera. I’ve got pictures of the sea turtle I swam with in the Caribbean, pictures of giant tortoises, the land version of the turtle, taken on Isabelle Island in the Pacific Ocean, and numerous pictures of turtles taken all across America.

So what’s your favorite souvenir to bring home from your travels?

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An anhinga drying its wings. You'll be sure to see this bird along the Anhinga Trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

“There are no other Everglades in the world … Nothing anywhere else is like them … the racing free saltness and sweetness of the their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space …. The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below … It is a river of grass.” — Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass, 1947

Turtles and a cormorant face off for space along the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Turtles and a comorant face off for space along the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The 0.8 mile boardwalk trail is named for the anhinga, a waterbird that swims with only its long neck and head above water. This can give it the appearance of a snake about to strike, hence it’s nickname snakebird. We saw plenty of these birds along the trail, but many other birds as well.

If you go, be sure and stay on the trail. There are more than birds that call this area of the Everglades home.



Beware the jaws that snatch. Photo by Pat Bean



  Everglades National Park

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An anhinga trying to swallow a fish too large for its throat. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting things that can not be.” — Author unknown

I’m not a quitter. That’s mostly a good thing. But sometimes you have to admit you can’t reach the top of a mountain, fix a bad marriage or write a perfect piece of prose. So you come back down the mountain before you die; you move on with your life while you still have a bit of sanity left; and you send your imperfect article off to a publisher and begin a new piece of writing.

I watched an anhinga, while hiking the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park with my granddaughter, Keri, that might have taken this advice to heart. When we came upon the bird it was perched on a limb above a shallow pool of water trying to swallow a fish too large for its thin neck. We stood there and watched it for a full 30 minutes as it attempted this task.

Several times the fish fell back into the water. The anhinga would dive after it, spear it with beak, come back up to its perch and once again maneuver the fish head down into the opening of its throat. When Keri and I finally gave up watching and moved on, the anhinga was still at what just might have been one of those impossible tasks.

A cormorant and turtles keep a watch beside the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A cormorant and turtles keep watch beside the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades. Photo by Pat Bean

There’s much to see along this popular trail that winds for nearly a mile through a sawgrass marsh full of wildlife. From the trail’s elevated boardwalk, one can almost reach out and touch cormorants, great blue herons, turtles and even alligators that call the area home.

The anhingas, which give the trail its name, are particularly populous. It is sometimes called the snake bird because its low profile in water often leaves only its long-necked head visible.

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