It didn't bother me that the rain was never ending. In fact, I felt yesterday was a perfect day for some exploring. I went alone, and am very happy I did it. I used to be so afraid to be by myself. I couldn't handle it. Now, I occasionally seek it out. I've never gone off into the woods by myself though. Probably because I'm a small woman and have been socialized to fear such an experience. I conquered that fear yesterday. Being alone with such beauty was uplifting. Just me and some amazing plants. Learning to the soundtrack of the rain on the river. Don't fret. I was careful. The ever looming danger of water moccasins kept me alert and on my toes. Only real frustration was with my camera... a new one will be my next major purchase I suppose. But even that was not enough to disrupt the moment.
While walking through the floodplain forest I couldn't help but think about dinosaurs. An abundance of ferns typically makes me think of such things. How awesome would it have been to come across a stegosaurus?
I came across some bones of what appeared to be a deer. Possibly from a hunting dump. The downside to the backwoods of North Central Florida. Last time I was out in the field I came across a huge carcass dump of wild boar and deer. Possibly from illegal poaching. Not only was the smell terrible, the sight was unnerving. The bones I found yesterday were clean and had been there quite some time. I thought about taking them for my sister, but instead decided to leave them. The outline of the animal's last resting place was oddly peaceful, and not something I wanted to disturb. I felt a strange sense of balance and order. So I let it be.
The samples I did take were thoughtfully picked. I brought about 20 specimens back and am currently pressing them for my herbarium. My samples from this past fall are finally dry and ready for mounting. This is the most patient I've ever been with a project. Which is lucky because I don't have the fancy drying equipment they have in the herbarium on campus. I'm sure I could use it, but I really love the independence of my makeshift press and system. I'm very happy with the specimens so far. Pictures of the progress soon to follow. Until then, enjoy the fruits of my solitary adventure on what I considered a beautiful day.