So. It’s nice to reminded on occasion that there is more to the world than just my computer screen. I don’t get out much here at Ringling (to be fair, I didn’t get out much back home either), and I’m obviously not alone in this department. But one can only hermit for so long before real life comes-a-knockin’.
I’d missed the last class field trip due to a series of unfortunate coincidences, so I was dead set on making it this time. One surprisingly pleasant road trip later, I’m at Myakka State Park learning that the Spotted Newt is silent and that oh my god there are panthers at this park?? Woah.
On the hike, I got almost stupidly excited to see some wildlife after hearing various “I saw fifteen alligators last time.” stories from my car mates on the ride over, so of course, I see practically nothing until we make it to the bridge. A sliver of an alligator and a couple of water birds later and I’m feeling pretty gipped. I was holding on to the faint hope that I might see some boars since those are apparently everywhere at the park, but was soon informed that the little bastards are kind of the worst thing that ever happened to Florida since they love to rip up the ground and their urine is the best weedkiller money can buy. And by weed I mean all of the park’s plant life. All of it.
I remember thinking that the temperature was just frustratingly confusing, kind of balmy and humid but still occasionally cool enough that I spent an inordinate amount of time putting my jacket on and then immediately taking it off again. By the time we made it to the canopy walk I was really feeling the exercise, and heavy, tired breathing is hard to get away with when the air is suddenly 90% gnats.
And then… the stairs.
If there was ever a sadder reminder of just how out of shape I am, I’ll never know. That compounded with the fact that there was nothing in my stomach except a hastily purchased box of Pops I grabbed at the gas station, meant my mood was very much on a downward spiral.
That being said, there’s nothing like an honest to god, not Renderman generated sunset to remind you that, hey, this is actually kind of neat maybe I should do this more often. Sure, I admit, I had a lot of work due the next day and I was sleep deprived and my legs were not having it and I was very, very hungry. And hey I may or may not have been thinking about that constantly as we took our (very horizontal) nature hike. But the whole ordeal ended up being kind of a therapeutic experience, a nice little diversion from life in the labs.