Pretty As a Picture

guest post by Nancy Dobias

Such artistry there is in the Great Outdoors and it's just a camera shot away.  Sunday afternoon I went to Myakka River State Park because I had noticed the storm clouds gathering.  "What a great opportunity to get some brooding dark threatening clouds," I thought.  Well, as is the case in Florida, you never know what what the weather will bring.  I never did get the dark brooding clouds but I sure did see landscape that was worthy of a picture frame.  As I was driving down the main road of the park, all of a sudden I passed a fantastic "island" of color in a flooded field.  "WOW!   What on earth is that?" I thought.  

Quickly I looked for a place to pull over.  Grabbing my cameras, I hurriedly crossed the road and looked for a better vantage point.  Such a sight it was!  The blue skies, the white puffy clouds and that magnificent island of color to give the picture "pop."

Too bad I didn't realize that some of those "pops" would be me slapping away at all those mosquitos who were ecstatic because some FRESH BLOOD had miraculously appeared.   Arms, legs, neck!  "Is the landscape worth it?" I asked myself.  YES!  Quickly I switched to another camera to try another angle on its beauty but then in my ear I could hear that familiar high-pitched whine of a blood-sucking vampire coming in for a landing....  NOOOOOOO! Hurriedly I snapped a picture and beat a hasty retreat, back to my car I scurried.

Disappointed that I couldn't have gotten more angles on such a pretty sight, it didn't take me long to get over it.  Just a little bit down the road, a downed tree caught my eye and of course, what a sight it was!  "What a pretty picture this would make in a rustic wooden picture frame," I thought.  (This time I stayed in the car to snap that picture.  I figured the mosquitos might have radioed my location up ahead to their buddies and I didn't want to take any chances).

After taking the picture, I continued along the road and eventually got out of the heavily wooded section.  Here the fields were still flooded but the blue sky and white clouds made for one lovely portrait of the Myakka beauty.

Eventually I got antsy and wanted out of the car to see what could be seen from the woods side of the park.  The trails were still somewhat water-logged but if you didn't mind getting a little wet, you could get through the low spots and be back on the high spots in nothing flat.

As I was walking along in the woods, the storm clouds were starting to gather over the river and I could hear rumbles in the distance. When this happens, I generally hear the alligators start to "talk" with one another but no one was saying anything on my short walk through the woods.  I guess many had some "back-to-school" shopping to do and the few who had stayed home were thinking about all those jeans, shoes, shirts, notebooks, crayons and pencils that would soon be showing up on their credit card bills.

As the storm got closer and closer, I considered where I was.  Since I was in the woods, the umbrella effect of the woods might save me from getting too wet, but if the storm also introduced lighting into the mix, the woods was the last place that I wanted to be.   As I took my last pictures from the woods, I thought it's still tough to disguise what a magnificent park this is.

Before I left the park for the day, since it still hadn't started to rain, I drove to the bridge to see if any alligators might have returned from shopping.  They hadn't but the blue skies and white clouds had returned and Florida weather had once more turned on a dime.

Such a sight it was to view the beautiful Myakka River in all her glory and to know that this river is one of those treasures which many visitors hope will always be valued and will be forever here to enjoy.

If you haven't been there for awhile, what are you waiting for???  Take your cameras!!!  LOTS OF PRETTY PICTURES AWAIT.