When I took a picture of a massive cluster of water lilies, I didn’t realize at the time that I was looking at one of the oldest plants on planet earth. How silly I feel for just simply snapping a cute photo of it and walking away as if it meant nothing. I’ve seen my share of water lilies but never took the time to admire their actual existence.
Water lilies are one of the oldest aquatic plants on this earth. Early lilies were huge in size with fossils showing lily pads up to four feet wide. As these plants evolved over several thousands of years they morphed to the size we see today. Evidence of water lilies have been found in european pre-ice age cave drawings and these drawings show the early types to have been of the same basic form that exists among hardy species today.
FOSSILS! Seriously? I realize that roaches are as old as dinosaurs as well so I shouldn’t be surprised to be around something that has survived all the changes the Earth has been through, but lilies are so peaceful and quiet. They just grow and bloom and float on the surface of still waters. That is all they have ever done.
With the way the world is changing again (and not for the better) with the crisis of Global Warming and animals going extinct at a rapid pace, we are at high risk of losing these ancient gems just as fast. It may seem so minimal now, like who would miss a water lily? But, once it’s gone, it’s gone, and a Google Image search will be the only way future generations will ever know the prehistoric water lily ever existed.
After a crazy week, I figured it was time for a little go away trip for the day. I had photography project I wanted to get on board with so I decided to take myself to one of my favorite parks, the Dames Point Park. It is named after Jacksonville’s infamous and beloved suspension bridge, the Dames Point.
Ever since I was little, every year I begged my mother to drive me across the Dames Point for my birthday, and she did. There was no feeling like seeing it coming in the distance and your heart pounds with excitement. You feel yourself stop breathing as the cables wash over your car and recede into the rearview. The view at the peak of the bridge is the cargo shipyard. Massive ships docked and settled ready for launch.
There is a park beneath the bridge which has turned into a memorial ground for the victims of the El Fargo tragedy back in 2015 when a cargo ship capsized after traveling in waters stirred up by a hurricane.
The park is simple with benches and a picnic area and a great view of the beautiful bridge towering over you. If you’re lucky, you can catch cargo ships coming into port and leaving. Unfortunately, the bridge used for a better view and fishing has been damaged by Hurricane Irma. It could be a while before it will be repaired due to inspections and such.
To get to the Dames Point park can see a little tricky. The GPS will lead you to a road that is permanently closed. It is best to keep doing down the road until you get to a three-way stop and turn right. It’s a winding road but it’s a direct route into the actual park. It’s hidden location makes for a peaceful and secluded resting area to clear your head or like me, work on my watercoloring. 🙂
This week has been insane trying to escape the path of Hurricane Irma by fleeing to Atlanta, Georgia. Well, to be honest, I was headed to a Matt Wertz gig at Atlanta’s City Winery (which is amazing by the way) so my trip had a purpose before the hurricane.
The next day I wanted to visit a state park somewhere, the place I had my eye on was Talulah Gorge State Park because of the suspension bridge and the rapid water racing beneath it. It was two hours north of Atlanta and the city was still packed with evacuees who had flooded the popular area. After some debating, I decided, “what the heck? Let’s do it!” The night before I left, I browsed the images of the park so I’d know exactly what I was getting myself into. Everything was great until I ran into their warning sign.
Basically, it warns that in order to get to the lookouts and the better views of the waterfall, you have to descend a great deal of steps. To get to the suspension bridge, you had to go down 620 steps and to get to the Hurricane Falls, you had to go down 1,062 steps. It advises anyone with health conditions not to take the chance. Of course, no one listened. Apparently, they felt if they drove all this way and paid to enter the park then they were going to get their money worth. I already knew the steps were going to break me, but I just had to see the better view. I knew I’d probably kill myself trying to master a thousand steps so I decided I’d just go to the suspension bridge and turn around, and thank goodness I did. The view was perfect enough…
After getting everything I needed, I was ready to head back up the grueling 620 steps. It nearly killed me. I’m not a fitness junkie, I eat junk food for a living and I’m well overweight so I was nowhere near ready for this. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was burst. I took a break after every fifteen steps or so. I should have taken it as a sign when I saw the faces of those who went down before me come back up. Most of them had to be dragged or pushed up by friends and family in order to make it back to the top. My best friend was a canteen of water and the stair rails.
Believe me, when I tell you, don’t do more than you know you can handle. Going down may seem like a breeze but going back up literally feels like you’re climbing the side of the mountain.