A Migratory Expedition Southward
Winter in the Rockies is a long season. Even in the southern Rockies cold and snow can be expected for a long six months. Staying mostly indoors sitting by the fire has it’s comforts but can also lead to stagnation. Mental, physical and creative abilities begin to deteriorate without some sort external influence. There are remedies, such as old and new authors to read, taking up a new hobby can be helpful, attending social gatherings, visiting a museum or art gallery can be inspirational or perhaps attending a lecture could break a cycle of repetitive winter drudgery. Another option would be travel. Visiting a new city or taking a cruise can lead to adventures not imagined. Migratory birds nullified the effects of a winter season long ago. They travel to southern climates.
The snow started to fall at the Lower Farm in October this year. Temperatures have been below freezing, new snows fall every month. Mid January I started formulating a plan. I was accomplishing nothing as to construction improvements or landscaping projects. An expedition was in order. I would be driving south for a distance I’d not attempted in quite awhile.
Leaving Las Vegas, New Mexico driving east through Santa Rosa, Tucumcari and on to Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Dallas, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida to Tallahassee where the road begins to turn south towards my destination of Fort, Myers, Florida on the Gulf Coast.
1900 miles of looking at the world through a windshield. The high plains and last sight of any mountains or hills, the prairie of west Texas sprouting hundreds of new wind turbines, herds of cattle, metropolitan islands of dense population, scrub woodlands, the vast Atchafalaya Basin of swamp and bogs, east of Pensacola a wake of devastation left after hurricane Michael, where 1000s and 1000s of pine trees are snapped and toppled. Broken. Lake City, Florida is my entrance to the north/south corridor of Interstate 75. Besides the areas around large cities, Florida’s I-75 had the most traffic I’d encountered in over a thousand miles. Around Tampa I noticed the temperature had risen significantly. At last warmth, real warmth in the upper 70s. Finally… Sweetwater Landing Marina on the Caloosahatchee River where my brother resides on a boat. I’ll be there the next month and a half as winter wanes.
The day after arrival I stripped down to shorts and T-shirt. No socks or shoes, no sweater, winter coat, hat or gloves. The sun kisses bare bleached skin. It’s wonderful. Migratory birds have the right idea. A change in climate does the body good.
While here I won’t be reposed on a beach blanket all day. This is an expedition afterall. Everglades National Park is on a high priority to explore. Not as dramatic as Yellowstone or the Tetons but an ecology found nowhere else on Earth. Tremendous amounts of water flow in a sheet across miles of flat terrain.A sea of grass they call it. Cypress swamps, mangrove swamps, bogs and marshes are a habitat for birds, fish, reptiles and insects that have adapted to an environment of shallow flowing waters. Once rested I’m excited to explore.
Meanwhile my feet are so happy not to be encased in thick socks and heavy boots. Living on a boat you are pretty close to being outdoors all the time. It is so pleasant not to be encumbered with the weight of winter.
For now, Adios.