Every once in a while I take a drive down the Tamiami Trail in the evening at sunset. This is one of the most scenic highways in Florida, even if there are some people in Everglades City who don't think so.
I was going to add a scenic picture from the Florida photo archive, but the website is currently down as they are moving servers. So maybe I can paint you a mental picture.
The summer sun reflects off the sawgrass like a sea of gold interspersed with islands of green cypress.
Large cumulus clouds along the sky are the mountains that sit on the prairie, reflecting off bright white, orange, and gold shimmers from the setting sun, while underneath are curtains of rain showers.
The setting sun passes behind a cloud fortress, and reappears underneath as a red globe among the curtains of rain.
Indeed, one of the most scenic highways in Florida that I know.
Also along the trail are many Seminole and Miccosukee camps. Once open to the public to visit, they are now all enclosed by wooden fences or gates, with keep out signs. The thatched roofs of the chickees can be easily seen surrounding the more modern modular homes. Driving by, you can only wonder at what is inside. Who are these people who have strongly held to their ground and indigenous ways? There is much that tempts the imagination of the brief glimpse seen.
Once these camps were open to the public. You could stop from the long drive down the trail and visit the people, talk with them, and buy crafts.
Unfortunately these times have changed. I guess we are in a different era. No longer will you find these villages open for visitors. And the only authentic trail family craft shop that I know which is still open is at Big Cypress Bend.
There is the Miccosukee Culture Center about 20 miles outside Miami. But there, you will find the Miccosukee patchwork mixed in with dream catchers and generic greeting cards with western themes of wolves and southwest motifs. It just doesn't have the same feel to it as Big Cypress Bend.
There is really no place you can visit, and sit down and have a casual chat with any of the trail people. I really wish that I could have lived here 50 years earlier when I could have done that. There seems to be almost no opportunities of social interaction to get to know these people who have not only survived, but thrived in this unique environment.
Sometimes I just want to talk to them about life in the glades. I have had many unique and wonderful experiences living out here, and feel a need to share my thoughts and feelings with them. The many birds and animals that pass through by my humble little living space that is more camp than house.
But I guess we are past that time, and now in a different era. I am sad that it has changed.
At least I still have the birds nearby. The herons sitting along the canal, or the owls hooting in the cypress swamp at night. I especially like the little green herons and the peep they make, or the comical head that sometimes extends its neck like and accordion. When the red shouldered hawk made a nest nearby she was constantly screeching, which I gladly accepted as what is probably her normal behavior. There are things that I experience that others may find annoying, but I have come to accept as the way things are, and rejoice that they continue on in their natural state.