A Vast Quiet

When you look out over the sawgrass prairie here in the Everglades—where we’ve been hiking through a very wide, shallow river—you can see far across to the horizon, across limestone flats, with zero signs of mankind.

The quiet around you seems surreal. Like time has stopped.

In reality there are roads nearby, like this one to a missile site used during the Cuban Crisis. During our bike ride through the wind that pushed us across the prairie, we saw one parade of cars, driving from point A to point B on a guided tour. They weren’t going anywhere.

This is not civilization. When you’re in the Everglades, you don’t really remember civilization. You feel out, in the margins, away from any landscape you’re used to, away from the rest of the world.

Here we’ve seen beautiful wading birds. Reptiles, from giant alligators to tiny lizards, a toad stuck in Banjo’s water bowl, and a really big rattlesnake booking it out of our campsite and into the sawgrass. So many redshouldered hawks.

They show little regard for us walking through their world. I feel like a shadow in someone else’s land.

Goodbye, quiet, receding Everglades. I hope there’s enough of you left when I return one day.

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