Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

When we go through life, often times we may have a plan as to what we want our life to be when we reach the various milestones. We expect smooth sailing if we plan. We're taught that being prepared is half the battle. If we've done OUR part, then certainly life could do its part.

How often have you looked at a river and wondered where it's been...what it had to do to get here?

Or where it's going and whether any obstacles will prevent it from fulfilling its journey?

Maybe rivers are like life. Rather than having a scripted plan of exactly what we expect and demand in THE PERFECT LIFE, perhaps it's better to accept that there can be a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C when things don't go as expected. Should a detour cause us to deviate from the river, it doesn't have to mean life will be less perfect. It's just means life will be different. Perhaps more obstacles may be there, but we can still determine how we might deal with those obstacles.

If dark clouds have silver linings, we could focus on the positives in our lives. We could reach for something to hang onto until a new pathway is forged.

It might not be easy. We might make more mistakes, but if we keep going forward, we could one day make it back to the river.

...and if we don't, there's always Plan D....

Hope in your life you always know when to use an anchor and when to let it go and enjoy whatever plan life has to offer!

Can Alligators Snatch You Off A Bridge?


Can Alligators Snatch You Off A Bridge?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

I was told that after Mother's Day, the last of the snowbirds will have returned to their homes up north and for a few months, a new "normal" will begin. No longer will the parks, beaches, and restaurants be as crowded. That was certainly evident in Myakka River State Park. Generally the area near where the pontoon boat tours are launched is quite busy but Friday morning, no cars were arriving and no one was milling around when I was there.

Even the alligators seemed to be few and far between. One guy was hanging near the bridge in hopes that his dashing good looks might make him a star among the Myakka visitors but since few were on the bridge to notice what a nice profile he had, he slowly closed his eyes and sank back beneath the river's surface.

It's good that he did or his feelings might have been hurt had he overheard a comment of someone watching from the bridge. The man was not familiar with alligator behavior and was nervous about his safety on the bridge. He knew alligators could move quickly. He heard that they could make lunges. "Could this alligator snatch a person off the bridge?" he asked.

"Hmmmmm," I thought, "I wonder how many scary movies this man watched when he was growing up."

Fortunately for this man's "safety," he didn't stay long to find out. On the other side of the bridge I happened to notice an alligator who had been peacefully slumbering away, begin to awaken.

As the alligator came out of his sleep, his mouth opened wider...and wider...and wider. I wondered what that man would have thought had he witnessed this alligator's "obvious" hostility and aggression. Would he have been in a mad dash for his car in fear for his life? If so, it would have been wasted energy for sure!

This alligator was just trying to cool off when he opened his mouth wide. Alligators don't have sweat glands and this is one option that they employ when they need to cool down. When that's not enough, a quick and refreshing dip into the Myakka River is always an option.

Speaking of options, wouldn't it be neat if the creative writing classes would provide pictures of the parks and wildlife nearby and then let the kids turn their imaginations loose to write stories of their own choosing to forgive a less than stellar grade on some earlier quiz?

Hmmmmmmmm.... I wonder if that alligator would have had a trampoline under the water.

A Tipping Point

Guest post by Nancy Dobias

Do you ever wonder where the tipping point  for our planet is?  Some say we're approaching it.  Some say we've passed it.  Some even believe the planet runs in cycles, that nothing we do or don't do will ever phase it.  

I often times wonder whether there ever will be a meeting of minds.

How do you reach those who don't understand the quiet peacefulness that can be had when a view through a tree is your only neighbor.

How do you explain the beauty of nature's natural palette to those whose eyes don't take the time to see.

How do you impart an appreciation for the role that all wildlife play on this planet to those who let fear govern their decisions..

Does the road we're following lead to a better tomorrow for our planet? 

Will we make the right choices?

Where is that tipping point? 

A Harley in the Myakka?


A Harley in Myakka?

Guest post by Nancy Dobias

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you just never know what you'll see or experience when you pay a visit to Myakka River State Park.  This morning, as I was counting the number of alligators visible downstream, I happened to notice one of them look as though he might begin a courtship ritual.

His head was arcing above the water, his snout was pointing to the heavens and he was puffing out his jaw.  I figured next on his agenda would be to dip his body under water to blow out the air bubbles but before I could witness the "water dance," a loud roar of a Harley caused me to turn to the side to see why a motorcycle might be reving his engine on the bridge.

To my utter amazement, the "Harley" was the alligator that had been sleeping on the other side of the bridge but had been awakened out of his slumber by the challenge of this other alligator having the audacity to court one of his nearby lady friends.  In powerful strokes, "Harley" quickly made it under the bridge and was now bellowing out his dominance of the river.  Once his bellows was sounded, down he dipped and the water dance began.

Then, back up "Harley" roared and this time he lunged higher.  He was the KING OF THE RIVER.  He would tolerate no challengers.  To prove his worth, back down he went to once more perform his water dance to all his admiring ladies.

As I watched "Harley" demonstrate his manhood to all his admirers, I couldn't help but notice how proud HE was of his own performance.

I also looked at his challenger to see if he had gotten the picture and had backed down but unfortunately he was still trying his luck at attracting one of Harley's ladies.

He was good, but he still had a long way to go to challenge a guy like "Harley" and hopefully he waits a few more years before he takes him on.  "Harley" doesn't look like a guy you'd mess with.  There's a reason why he is the solitary KING OF THIS STRETCH OF THE RIVER.


No doubt Myakka has plenty of other lady alligators who would gladly welcome the interest of a studly King in Waiting.