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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!

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.

Do You Really Need a Selfie With and Alligator?

Do You Really Need a Selfie With and Alligator?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

The other day I was watching a segment on TV about the need for "selfie-free" zones when risky behavior is involved.  Too many people were dying trying to get the "shot of a lifetime."  Today when I went to Myakka River State Park, I witnessed the potential for injury that is inherent in this type of shot.   As I was driving over the bridge, I happened to notice 3 young men attempting to approach an alligator sunning herself on the bank downstream.  The men were within striking distance of the alligator but apparently they didn't consider that a problem.  I don't know if they wanted to touch her or get a picture with her but it looked as though they were hovering rather close to her.  By the time I parked the car and walked to the bridge, the guys had apparently gotten their selfie or whatever they wanted and were long gone.

I was glad.  At least I didn't have to worry about the lunacy of this action since there were several alligators partially submerged in the river near the one on the bank.  After all it WAS courting season. When I got to the bridge and looked upriver, one of Myakka's BIG GUYS was snoozing away and enjoying some quality time along the river.  At least he was.

Within 5 minutes, he had some company approaching him and it wasn't one of his lady-friends. Cautiously the man approached the alligator.  He wanted his "once in a lifetime" shot.

I could not believe the chance this man was taking.  Didn't he know it's courting season for alligators?  He's in that alligator's territory.  He's watching ONE alligator.   How many other alligators in the river are watching HIM???  His vision is limited by the camera in front of his eyes.  He doesn't know what's happening beyond this one alligator.   If this alligator should choose to react to this man's presence in HIS territory, can this man predict when that will happen and be able to anticipate with a FASTER reaction time? 

As I was wondering what is wrong with the people that I was seeing today, I turned back around to the other side of the bridge and lo and behold there were two more people down near the river's edge...right where I had previously seen an alligator rear up and do his courting routine to all the interested lady alligators.  The couple had arrived about 5 minutes after this "dance" and were not aware the alligator had been there but no doubt that alligator was aware that they were there.   I wondered what he thought of this couple's interference in HIS wooing of HIS ladyfriend..... Sure looked risky to me.