Nine—eleven, an infamous anniversary. A day in 2001 when so many lives were lost and so many more were changed never to be the same again. Maybe that is why I have generally been in a “blah” mood today — anniversary feelings of shock, horror, sadness, fear, and so much uncertainty.
I am sitting on the bank of the Ochlockonee River as we are camped at Ochlockonee River State Park. Where in the world is Ochloockonee River State Park? It is located approximately six miles south of Sopchoppy, Florida. Does that help? I didn’t think so. Maybe thirty-nine miles slightly southwest of Tallahassee, Florida will be more helpful. At this point in its 206-mile southerly journey from Georgia, the Ocholockonee River is very broad. In a few more winding miles from here it will empty into Ochlockonee Bay on the Gulf of Mexico.
On my hike this morning I stood face-to-face, maybe ten feet apart, with a whitetail deer. As I looked into her eyes, I noted with awe the beauty of the doe’s slim elegant face before she bounded into the brush. Admittedly, I probably hastened the end of the moment when I slowly reached for my camera. Perhaps a bit foolish of me! I lost the moment as I sought to capture it. When will I learn! I never got the shot, but I see her face even now and store the image in my “digital brain.”
What’s that I feel on my foot? I reach down to brush whatever it is away and realize I am fingering two small very black crabs that were mounting my foot. I wish I had not scared them away! I’m sitting very still and watching them move in and out of the board slats and over and under the edges of the step where my feet are resting. Oh my, now there are four of them! It is interesting, they seem much more sensitive to movement than sound. They dart away at my slightest movement, but I whistle and make noise and they are not alarmed. (I have since learned that these were juvenile Florida Blue Crabs. Yes, they have no ears, yet through an abundance of very fine hair filaments they are reasonably able to hear underwater. The filaments are extremely sensitive to movement, vibrations, and the change in water pressure. Thus, my whistling did not disturb them, yet my slightest movement alarmed them.) Thank you, God, for all the amazing creatures.
Speaking of amazing creatures, on my walk back to the camper I spotted the rare white squirrel that inhabits this area of Florida. The squirrel is not an albino—no pink eyes. It is a genetic mutation of the common gray squirrel. Being accustomed only to the numerous brown and red squirrels that inhabit our back yard and eat our bird seed, I was quite taken with this little white critter and watched it play for a while. I must admit that I have an affinity for squirrels. I was once asked, “What animal would you want to be?” Yep, that’s right, a squirrel! They are, in my opinion, cute and furry as well as energetic and resourceful. Okay, let’s not think about them being members of the rodent family!
So, in the midst of the “blahs” and a day that looms large in infamy, I was reminded, once again, of the joy that comes with being awake and aware in the moment and of the little things that delight and enrich our life and world.
Well, I had planned to go kayaking this afternoon, but I suppose through the combination of the aforementioned “blahs,” the heat, and the effort to unload and reload the kayak, I talked myself out of it. One day at a time! Thankfully, tomorrow is another day!!