2018 was a hard year. It was a year of uncertainty, fear, frustration, and gratitude. Some of my previous aspirations seem petty in comparison to my current hopes.
I had a milestone birthday this year. I did not feel like celebrating. I planned things years ago for this birthday that weren't possible any longer. I silently laid things to sleep and didn't acknowledge their demise.
I feel as if we burst apart at the seams and are ever so carefully stitching the pieces back together. I fear that another blow is just around the corner to undo the work we have done.
I have family, friends, a home, and health. These are beautiful pieces to build a future full of hope and love. Want is banished from our existence thanks to creativity, generosity, and grit. We are thriving despite our circumstances.
I am hesitant to make resolutions for 2019. I can't bear to create promises that I can't keep. I plan to stay the course and find gratefulness in all that I have.
I am painfully aware that prayers, manifesting, and visions don't always bring the desired results.
Please be gentle.
We love Treaty Park. This is a 47 acre St. John's County park off of Wildwood Drive. There is a playground, baseball fields, tennis courts, a soccer field, a skate park, a walking/biking trail that is almost a mile long, a pond, a dog park, and so much more.
I sit in the soft artificial grass at the playground while my children play. When they get hungry and hot we can eat snacks under the pavilion. My toddlers bring cheerios to feed the turtles, ducks and fish at the pond. After cooling off, my older boys climb the large trees, search for insects, and expend their energy running in the fields.
This is a beautiful place to fly a kite or bird watch. There is a large nest (We saw a raptor but can not confirm that it is an eagle) on top of one of the large baseball field spotlights. We have seen red shouldered hawks, Anhinga, Vultures, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, swallow-tailed kites, mockingbirds, and bluebirds.
Recently we encountered an amazing Gopher Tortoise while near the walking trail. He was surprisingly fast. Gopher Tortoises are a protected species. They dig large burrows that they share as homes to more than 350 other species, making them a keystone animal. We felt very fortunate to meet the tortoise my boys affectionately named "Speedy."
Other notable creatures we have seen are softshell turtles, red eared sliders, a small two foot alligator, and a juvenile water moccasin. The last two species are listed on a posted sign proclaiming "Danger! Reptiles in Area." We did not see any dangerous reptiles for many months, but as long time residents of Florida, we treat every body of water as if it contains an alligator.
When we saw the alligator we did not feed the turtles. It is a misdemeanor to feed alligators and he seemed quite friendly. I'm sure he felt happy to have discovered this mecca of food. We have not seen him since that day. I can only assume that he was relocated by the FWC. They will remove an alligator under 4 feet if they are a danger to pets or people.
Treaty Park is a great way to spend a cool Florida afternoon. It's so much more than just a place to play on a playground.