After my visit with the Kestrels at the Wildlife Center, I went back to the hotel and found Liz at the bar, with her nose in a book, as usual.
"Feel like an adventure?"
"Sure." She replied.
I led her down the beach, past all the long rows of oil covered tourists, frying themselves like bacon in the sun. We turned and headed into the jungle, to the places the snowbirds dare not tread.
Liz walked with trepidation through the heavy brush, and with good reason. They do not call Florida "The Untamable Land" for nothing.
In moments, we found ourselves in a completely different world, surrounded by Mother Natures glory.
Wildlife was everywhere. Our path led to one of Florida's majestic river springs. Florida has more class one springs than any other place in the world. Fresh crystal clear water bubbles up from deep underground, and remains a constant 72 degrees all year. They flow to the ocean, mixing with the sea, forming a brackish mix of fresh and salt that can support all forms of marine life.
We waded, and swam, and swung on the vines like playful children. Our spirits glowed brighter than the noon day sun.
We came upon a baby manatee and her mother. They floated lazily without a care in the world, and we followed their lead, and did the same.
We saw fish in every shape size and color imaginable, and did our best to identify each species, but in the end, we could not, so we had big fun creating names of our own.
It was a magic moment.
Pale in comparison to what happened next...