I think having lived in a small desert town where a 20 minute bike ride in any direction out of town got you in to some pretty wild country had something to do with why I hardly ever hit the local parks when I moved to Florida. Last Thanksgiving a friend had an open invitation to go for a morning hike at a local preserve. I think I went for a couple walks to sort of prepare myself for it; I’ve been living a much too sedentary lifestyle these last few years, outside of kayaking, and the kayaking has sort of been tapering off as the new wears off.
Since that short little morning walk last Thanksgiving, I have been getting out to more of the local parks. I think my previous attitude toward them, especially the smaller parks within city limits, was sort of an unfair disdain, “you call that a park? Back in Socorro, NM, you could bike out to the Quebrados Back Country Byway, and camp out in some real rugged land. That’s a park.” What I’m starting to realise as I get out more, and I have found some pretty wild trails around here, once I started looking for them, is 1) That’s what there is to offer around here, take it or leave it. 2) There is a lot of effort that goes into making these parks to enjoy, and 3) Getting back to nature, no matter how small, is sort of a sanity-maintaining activity, when you get to see it through the right lens. As a hiker on this morning’s guided hike said to our guide: “If you weren’t here to point out what things are, I would’ve just walked past it all.” That has often been me: I just charge through the greenery without stopping to see things. “Never going to see anything around here, any way. Might as well just get the exercise and get it over with.” I have a tendency to go through life like that, any way. Always feel pressured that I should be doing something else, and so in a constant state of stress, most of the time.
Anyway, long introduction, but I’d been meaning to hit the Koreshan State Park for a while. Never really thought about going too seriously. Didn’t think I cared much about some old commune, but I stopped by on my way back from the guided hike, and, well, I do like to learn about history, and this really does have an interesting one. By far, I was most impressed with the power house and machine shops. I learned that they were the only source of power for Southwest Florida from the 1920s until around 1947 when Florida Power and Light made it down to Fort Myers.
I guess, I’m probably copying a friend’s idea, that I should write up a little piece about the parks I visit, just for fun, I guess. Give me something to do to get out of my head a little, and share what helps me turn outward to experience life a little more fully, as opposed to constant introspection. We’ll see if I come up with anything.