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The most interesting thing about South Florida is its precarious hold on civilization – a constant tug-of-war between the lawn mower and the strangling vine. I love it here in spite of this and because of this. You can never really relax, even though the Department of Tourism calls out for you to come here for that very reason. Stop mowing and edging and chopping and pulling and the jungle jumps in. If you lie still outside for very long my bet would be that something green would come out of the undergrowth and wrap you up like a spider would. Build yourself something and very soon a hurricane will come creeping and wash it all away. (I’m not kidding about that: as I type this, a potential Cat.2 hurricane is tracking our way).

This is a tiny park a few minutes from home. 
It is very small, with a quarter-mile trail that circles it like a cinch belt. It’s surrounded by a firehouse, an elementary school, a gated subdivision and a medical complex. But its center is a true jungle, a living reenactment of life here two hundred years ago, or, maybe, two centuries from now. A feverish little suggestion of life without people.

13 comments

  1. August 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm sassysistersink

    beautiful photos of the magnificence of nature! you’re right, though… left to its own devices it would probably devour everything in its path, a rather humbling thought. thanks for sharing!

  2. August 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm Deb Ross

    Now wait. I’ve been pondering a move there to be near my sons, but that part about something green wrapping you up, uhmmm…..
    Seriously, beautiful pictures. I know it’s really magical, especially when it’s not too hot!

  3. August 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm Amy

    Hi Sassy Sisters! Thank you! It’s always warm so the green never stops, and I swear sometimes I can see the grass growing. But that’s part of the mystery of living here…

    Hi Deb! I haven’t been carried off by anything yet…at least so far…

  4. August 22, 2012 at 2:56 am rosanna

    OH .. looks so wild and untamed. A Real jungle.
    Can I say that it is like a memento mori for all civilizaion ?
    nonetheless I love it.

  5. August 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm Sans!

    Amy, my park is very small and yours is huge by comparison and it looked like you ventured where no man dared, right into the doorstep of an itsy bitsy spider’s home.

    How did it feel standing there? Like earth’s 1st person?

    As a child, I often felt that way whenever I played in a particular corner of my school’s garden where the trees were ancient and the plants were overgrown. So much so that I was not even a person but a fairy who lived amongst trees. Sometimes I think I built my mini worlds so I can feel that way again.

  6. August 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm Amy

    I did feel lot like the world’s first person, but without the innocence she might have had-I’m too worried about snakes and spiders and other critters not wanting me there. And I was wearing a dress! That spider was 4 inches wide, so I gave it lots of space, which we both seemed to appreciate…

    I know exactly what you mean, as a child I had a favorite Norway maple tree that was the world to me, a farm, a cave, a mountain to climb. You’re right, I think we are doing just that, remaking worlds from the larger world, excavating that magic from our lives before…

  7. August 23, 2012 at 12:16 am Daydreamer

    The Forest Primeval! The stuff of Fairytales and Legends… but Alive and ever ready to reclaim it’s Dominion!
    Amy, I dropped in late last night (in the ether) but was too tired to find the words to describe my reaction to these pictures….. So now I will try! I really can’t describe how much I enjoy coming along when you “Try to Look Closer…” …. because you do it so well and so thoroughly and so Beautifully! In this case, I could feel that hush of suddenly being inside a Very Old Wood… the gloom spangled with sunlight… the canopy so far above… the sudden appearance of Spiders a little to close… but Fascinating… The close-up glimpses of minute blossoms and engorged fruits… the Strangled roots and Smothered shapes of competing lifeforms… with such a sinister overlay of Life creating Death which in turn supports Life…. Can it Get More Primeval without people disappearing altogether…??? Strange as it may seem… I actually find Comfort in the idea that it would all take back the Earth rather quickly… that it keeps on in spite of our presence…. and shows us that Maybe we don’t Matter as much as we Think we do!
    Thank you so much for bringing me along!
    And Please stay safe… I am watching that storm too!

  8. August 24, 2012 at 11:35 am Daydreamer

    And that Moth, Amy, that awesome moth disguised as a leaf!!! I wonder what kind it is?

  9. August 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm Amy

    Betsy, what you wrote means so much to me, not just because you’re my friend but because you’re an artist, with a way of seeing things from so many different angles. You make me look at my own pictures in a new way, which is a great gift. Thank you.

    I’ve been slowly reading a book named “The World Without People”, which we don’t really want, we want a hopefully not too utopian idea of people living in balance with the world. I really like being here. But I also find comfort in the idea that the planet can survive us, even thrive in places we seemed to have completely stripped of natural life. Every time I see a little green weed pop up through a crack in cement I think, ah, yes, that’s it!

    And the moth, I’m so glad, but not surprised at all, that you saw it! Isn’t it amazing, those leafy wings? I have no idea what kind it was. And when I moved the lens, it was gone…

  10. October 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm Anonymous

    What an absolutely amazing set of photos! The fifth one down is my favourite. I live near a tiny city nature reserve…it’s triangular, two sides train lines, one side roads. It’s great, but not nearly as spectacular/lush as this.

  11. October 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm Amy

    Thank you! I worked at a tiny nature preserve as a teenager, in New York. It was its own little world, a salt marsh that seemed a hundred miles away from suburbia, but bordered by backyard swimming pools and a giant garbage landfill. Maybe we love them more because they’re surrounded?

  12. February 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm Natasha

    Where is this its absolutely beautiful? I would love to have a picnic here.

  13. February 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm Amy

    It’s Orchard View Park in Delray Beach. It’s very small, I think it used to be part of Blood’s Hammock orange grove. It’s not very impressive as a park, but that circular trail through its jungle is pretty strange and magical…

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