Ed’s family came to visit. I was thankful the water was in good enough shape that Ed and I could take everyone out to enjoy the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. The highlight for me was after a boat ride to Peck’s Lake, building a sandcastle with Capri (7) and Cole (5) at St Luice Inlet State Park.
With my hands in the earth at the side of the sea in a place of my childhood, it was as if nothing had changed. Except building the castle out of re-nourished beach sand maybe. But Capri and Cole did not notice.
Ours became a wonderful sandcastle, and together we cheered “We will not retreat” and kept building and adapting as the ocean moved ever-forward. I did not say a word, but thought perhaps I was preparing them for sea-level-rise. In the end, Cole took a shell to the wall and informed Capri and me that a “dinosaur had arrived to destroy the castle!” Capri was not happy; but I assured that it was “OK” as the nesting sea turtles preferred flat sand and would appreciate the tear down.
-Capri (7) Aunt Jacqui (57) and Cole (5)The next day, Ed took the family up for a flight.
It was Capri’s first time and although I was nervous due to temperature and turbulence, she was brave and her parents supportive. All was wonderful, but it did feel a little weird saying: “Capri, don’t be surprised when the giant Lake Okeechobee is bright green.” At seven years old, she gave me the largest of smiles and I smiled back. Then I turned to Ed saying “Babe, you may needed to talk about cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) when up in the plane.”
Ed nodded concentrating on the flight.
Never in a million years would I think to myself that this would be the conversation. In any case, Ben and Capri had a great flight! Kelli and Cole stayed behind with me.
-Ed’s relatives. The Linder family: L to R. Ben, (nephew); Capri; Ed; Cole, & Kelli)-Ben, Capri, and Ed up in the airHere are some aerials of their flight, 7-2-21, 12: 57 pm:
-St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon at Sewall’s Point, heavy local rain runoff, but no Lake Okeechobee releases.-S-80 St Lucie Locks and Dam, closed.-S-308 at Port Mayaca, Lake Okeechobee open for agriculture water supply but not going through S-80 to St Lucie River.-S-308, note algae inside structure leading to C-44 Canal.-Ed over Lake Okeechobee note age streaks and location of GPS near Clewiston.-Over western and central area of Lake Okeechobee -note GPS.Once we got home, there was no slowing down. Somehow the kids found Ed’s telescope up in the loft. Laughing, but embarrassed, Ed and I realized we had not taken it out in seventeen years!
We were able to look at a nearby oak tree, but not at the stars when they came out at night. The telescope had seen better days.
Even though we didn’t see the stars, it was adorable watching Ed with his niece and nephew. And I though to myself, “things have changed, but things really are the same and we must show the way to the next generation.”
-Ed works the telescope with Cole (5) and Capri (7) after the kids discovered it. -Capri looks towards the future…
I hope everyone had a happy Mother’s Day yesterday! One of our “around the table” family discussions went like this:
Jacqui:” I’m getting a new headshot this week because now my hair is gray.”
Sister Jenny: “Why? Are you running for office?”
Jacqui:” No, not now. But I want my blog photo to look like me.”
Sister Jenny: “Why!” 🙂
Whether it’s my hair, or our natural landscape, things are always changing! I think it’s important to let young people, like my niece Evie, Jenny’s daughter, almost 18 and entering the world, know what our natural landscape looked like “before,” as they will be dealing with water issues we can’t even imagine.
One of the least documented changes of Florida is the demolition of the pond apple belt of Lake Okeechobee. I hope in time, the younger generation finds a way to recreate its original natural purpose that was to strain, slow down, and clean the lake water flowing south into the sawgrass plains of the Everglades. Another benefit was flood protection. Nature’s adapted protections out-do mankind’s every time…
In pre-drainage times, the original features of Lake Okeechobee helped contain it. There was the Okeechobee Sand Ridge; the Southern Ridge; the Spillover Lands; and the fossilized coral ridge.
The Sand Ridge extended from Martin County to Palm Beach County ~just north of Pahokee. There was a cut in this ridge where water could more easily escape east at today’s historic village of Sand Cut along the eastern shoreline. Archaeologists believe this Sand Ridge running along the lake was an old shoreline. It is stated in the research of the Boyer Survey, An Archaeological Investigation of Lake Okeechobee, by Christian Davenport, Gregory Mount and George Boyer Jr., that only the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee was “defined by a sand shore.” Today the Army Corp has built a dike along and over this sand shore with the addition of extra boulders for protection. Very unattractive. The original pond apple forest would not just have been more lovely, but would have helped in times of storms ~ similar to how mangroves, even in front of a seawall, do today.
The Southern Ridge was a high muck ridge that had formed at the southern end of the lake and was located in a “massive belt of pond apple trees.” This forest was completely mowed-down to access the deep muck for agricultural purposes. It was 32,000 acres! (Lawrence E. Will) The towns of *Port Mayaca, Pahokee, Belle Glade, South Bay, and Clewiston south today’s Lake Okeechobee are located in what was once the pond apple forest. Surreal, isn’t it?
These trees grow closely together and can get very large. They have weird roots kind of like mangroves. My husband Ed and I bought a lot along Overlook Drive in Stuart and oddly or interestingly enough in this area there are pond apple trees. According to the study, the original lands of Lake Okeechobee sloped towards the lake, meaning the lake would have been as much as two miles wider during periods of high water. (The forest and the shape of the land held the water in the lake.) Along the southern edge “dead rivers” cut through this muck ridge and were the primary outlet during times of high waters. (Boyer Survey)
Spillover Lands was the archeological term for the lower-sawgrass plains extending beyond the southern side of the pond apple forest. Here sheet flow was created that moved and melded into the Everglades, basically a littoral marsh.
By the way the “dead rivers” were anything but dead, some very deep and very long. The word “dead” was applied as some of the original explores could not find “the end,” and I believe this word suits today’s powers well as the word “dead” makes one think they had no life. The complete opposite is the truth. They were full of life! All the animals of the Everglades, including hundreds of birds colonies lived in these areas that were completely DESTROYED.
The final formation mentioned in the Boyer Survey is an ancient Fossilized Coral Ridge (Reef) that runs from approximately Okeelanta to Immokalee. In pre-drainage times, this muck covered reef caused a higher elevation that is thought to have helped retain some of the water within the Spillover Lands during times of low water. Hmmm? Another Nature feature that works better than our manmade ideas for drought protection today – deep well injection, and other brilliant ideas….
Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson! And I hope some young people like my niece Evie in the photo at the beginning of this blog read this post some day. Gray hair can be dyed or glorified, but the natural features of Lake Okeechobee in the heart of Florida, they must be rebuilt as part of today’s modern eco-system.