It’s cold and I have a cold.
I’m bundled up on the couch looking out the window as flakes gently fall on the snow covered ground. My head is pounding and I’ve been sneezing so much that I’m giving Rudolph a run for his money in the red nose department.
In my fever induced hallucinations I’m seeing a stero-typical mirage full of palm trees swaying in the breeze, a cool mist floating over the clear water. It’s a Christmas miracle! Then I realize I fell asleep and my computer was playing a slide show of my most recent trip to Florida, the steam from my tea wafting across the screen, making my dreamlike misty water feel all the more real.
Back in the Saddle and Back to the Bucket Lists
Ronald Reagan is president, and a gallon of gas only costs $1.25. We were playing with Monchhichi Dolls and watching Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s 1981. Half of you are probably thinking, “What in the hell does this have to do with Florida?” and the other half are wondering if you should call a doctor because my Christmas cold has put me over the edge but the year is significant because that is the last time my parents flew on a plane, until November, when we flew on our most recent trip to Florida.
So why the 30 year hiatus? Neither of them are completly Pteromerhanophobic, but after my parents had four kids, flying took a back seat and then we took to the back seat of a minivan making driving our main mode of transportation for family vacations. Eventually, I think the thought of flying became more of an anxiety than the actual flight itself. My mom retired this year so my parents decided to head back to the friendly skies and what better of an autumn escape than traveling south and I was the obvious choice to be their “flight chaperon” as I affectionally dubbed myself. It’s been on my “bucket list” to take a trip with my parents aside from family vacation and this was the first time the three of us have gone away since my siblings were born. Things went so well my mom is now planning a trip to Las Vegas. Another Synan bit by the travel bug…
The Sunshine State and Savannas Preserve State Park
Florida is such a diverse state you could visit a different city each time you go and have a totally unique experience each time. The Gulf side or the Atlantic, beaches or golf courses, low key retirement towns or busy party cities, Florida has something to offer everyone. My Aunt and Uncle live outside of West Palm Beach so this time around we settled for a quiet week near the Atlantic Ocean.
I decided to spend one morning kayaking and in all honesty I was hoping to see some alligators, however I have had a streak of bad luck when it comes to spotting wildlife. Savannas is over 5,000 acres and is the largest freshwater marsh in Southeast Florida. The park offers an education center, fishing, walking, biking or horse riding trails, as well as the guided kayak tours. While I didn’t see any gators, there were a ton of birds to watch flying and nesting throughout the park where Florida Scrub Jays, Cranes, and Egrets can be spotted. There are even two Bald Eagle nests within the marshland.
Four Calling birds, three French Hens, two Turtle Doves…
Savannas has a Christmas Count, an event where volunteers lend a hand to the ornithologists and count the number of birds of each species. The National Audubon Society, a non profit organization that helps maintain the conservation of birds and their ecosystems promotes these counts. The Christmas Count is an annual event and from December through the beginning of January thousands of people across the US head out to tally fowl. The data collection helps birds and their habitats by documenting trends. Want to help with the count in your area? Check this website to find more or to sign up! Click here for the National Audubon Society Website
The kayak tour was on a windy day but that didn’t stop us from seeing the beautiful view and serene surroundings. Lily pads bounced along the top of the water, small white and yellow carnivorous flowers dotted the marshes making it a mosquito-less tour. Thank you so much to the volunteers that come out every week to take curious kayakers like myself on the water, I’ll be back again!
Click to find out more about Savannas Preserve State Park with the Friends of Savannas Preserve State Park.