More Florida moments

I tried to post once from a Blackberry, and am not sure it went through. I’m trying again from a real computer, so we’ll see what happens this time.

Sadly, it’s not my real computer. Mr. Bookworm brought his beloved tablet computer with us, only to suffer a double whammy: it broke and he forgot the external wireless dealy-bopper. Fortunately, the hotel we’re staying at has a business center, and the kids need to fall asleep in the dark, so I’m sitting alone at a strange computer, see what I can shake out of myself blog-wise. Mostly, it’s random thoughts. In no particular order:

The Everglades are spectacular. I happen to be very fond of our country’s national parks, and this one is definitely a winner. We saw so many alligators the kids actually started getting bored (no doubt helped by the fact that they were jet-lagged, hungry, and generally tired). These amazing monstrous creatures are everywhere, just sunning themselves. It’s very hard to look at them, and they were all completely inert, and imagine that they’re such fearsome killing machines. Take away the teeth, and they simply look rather foolish with those bulgy bodies and little legs. It’s almost a matter of cognitive dissonance to imagine them running at speeds of over thirty miles an hour, swimming at speeds in the high twenty miles per hour, and scaling fences like cats — but they do all that. What’s also impressive is the fact that, from near extinction in the 1960s/1970s, they’ve reemerged to a population of more than 1.5 million through Florida (which actually seems like a bit much to me).

We also saw dozens of egrets and herons, which were beautiful albeit less impressive. The fact that they didn’t stun me with their looks and style has less to do with the birds than with familiarity on my part. Back home, we live near a marsh that is home to many egrets and great blue herons, so they’re commonplace for me — beautiful, but commonplace. Incidentally, they too returned from near extinction to a thriving population. Nature is so much more resilient than we are wont to give her credit for being.

Another thought, and this is a very un-PC one, so feel free to skip the next three paragraphs. In California, there are lots of Hispanic residents. You and I have seen the ones in LA, marching along to insist that they get full American benefits without uniting their hearts to America. We also have a lot of immigrants where I live, and an enormous number of them are illegals. And to be honest, I resent them. I feel as if they want to take my country away, not because they’re Hispanic, but because they don’t want to be Americans.

I find myself feeling very differently about Florida’s hispanic population. Rightly or wrongly, I assume that most of them are Cuban, and that they are (a) American citizens who are here legally and (b) that they love this country fiercely. I find that I don’t mind being surrounded by people speaking Spanish, and innumerable Spanish language stores and restaurants, because I don’t feel that my nation is being eaten away. I feel that these are people like me — immigrants or the children of immigrants who are simultaneously proud of their heritage and proud of America. They want to embrace America and thrive here, not come to America to leech away her benefits without contributing, not their labor, but their love.

I’ve got to head up now and put myself to bed. I’m completely discombobulated time-wise. Because I’ve been working so frantically on projects lately, I’m very underslept. So, even though 9:00 p.m. Florida time should only be my 6:00 p.m. California time (meaning I should be tired), I’m midnight exhausted.

I’ll try to post again in a day or two. We’re visiting with a relative tomorrow, a very lovely and aged lady, so it should be a bit of a slow day. Then on to Orlando, where the madness begins.


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