The other day, as I often do, I took a quick trip to the Brooker Creek Preserve in northeast Pinellas County. I typically find myself at the preserve on my days off. That day, I was seeking to recharge the senses and gain back some mental strength.
No mountains are found here; nor are there rushing streams like those I experienced recently in the Carolinas. I found myself wading in ankle-deep, tannin-stained water. In all directions it appeared the forest had converted to hydric landscape.
About a quarter-mile into the trail, I realized water was going over the top of my shoes. My fancy Gore-Tex shoes became buckets of water. I trudged along, thinking I must be the only one silly enough to hike after the previous night's rain.
The air was quiet, the sky light blue. I wondered what sort of critters might be swimming in this new aquatic environment. The occasional tadpole wiggled past my feet as I slowly worked through ankle-deep water.
I often tell people that Brooker Creek is a refuge not just for nature, but for me. I moved to Pinellas County to be with a special someone with whom I recently parted ways. Now it is me and the preserve, a place I have come to admire.
It may appear silly to someone to think that I put a place like Brooker Creek Preserve on such a tall pedestal, but one must consider that it is an island of green surrounded by a growing sea of concrete. I recommend that you visit this special place for yourself. You may be surprised at the benefits you reap (friendsofbrookercreek preserve.org).
Go to the creek and get its good tidings. The occasional turkey and gopher tortoise may keep you good company as you walk among the sand hills. The buzzing of a mosquito will remind you that you are another being's snack.
As your feet sink into the cool waters, remember that the trail of life is just beginning.
Brandon Van Nuys lives in Palm Harbor.