When the weather turns chilly, the gentle giants known as the manatee head inland to the warmer springs to wait out the colder temperatures. It is at these times when a trip to one of the local conservation areas or parks of central Florida can be most rewarding. A favorite spot of ours to see the magnificent creatures is at the Blue Spring State Park in Orange City. On any given day there can be upwards of 300 manatee drifting in and out of the springs.
If you take the time to really watch their movement, quiet your mind and feel the energy of their presence, you can actually feel your pulse slowing, your chattering thoughts fading, and your heart expanding as the magic of the natural world takes center stage.
The early morning sun glints off the soft ripples of aqua and teal, revealing the shadow and form of one of the ocean’s most ancient remnants. It is thought that the slow moving beasts were the inspiration for sailors’ stories of mermaids.
A relative of their land cousin the elephant, they do seem to have similar characteristics both in movement and physical appearance. They are also very familial, just like elephants, and their young nurse longer than most mammals.
Mama has a tough time hiding out in the shadows for a break from her duties…
It is difficult to tear myself away, even after several hours of being in the company of such grace, love and quiet acceptance of life as it unfolds.
In warmer weather it is not uncommon to “bump into” these beautiful animals in rivers and inlets while boating, swimming or kayaking. There are a lot of rules, protection plans and advisories here in Florida in place to protect their numbers.
The best thing about living in such a diverse environmental landscape is that you never know what miracles await you just around the corner. And so my camera goes everywhere with me. Who knows? Perhaps someday I might get to see a “real” mermaid.
What miracles have you witnessed today?