Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

    On my way to the next campground...I stopped at a food store...PUBLIX...to pick up a few things.. I couldn't find an item, so I asked for assistance.  Bright  Spot - To my delight, a young man came along and made every effort to locate what I wanted.  As it turned out, that particular store didn't carry it anymore.  So, I thanked him and went to check out.  He was there bagging for me and offered to take my basket to the van!  Well, Dakota and I started chatting.  He has done quite a bit of traveling early in life with family and friends.
Dakota
His very first solo plane travel was to England!  He recently moved to Florida from Alabama to begin a 'new life!'  He is studying at the University of Florida and his major is secondary education.  He plans to teach English and incorporate critical and creative thinking skills for his students!  Dakota is a determined young man and I'm sure he will reach his goal and make a positive difference in his classroom!  Good luck, Dakota!
    I have always had an appreciation for nature.  As the years progress and especially since I've retired, I have been blessed with opportunities to really engage with and learn about the ways that nature not only takes care of itself, but takes care of us.
Florida's state butterfly

twisty vines

palm

medicinal herbs

bamboo

bamboo pathway

a species of bamboo

succulents
 Spending over 2 hours on a walking tour of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, FL...the fascinating world of plants, flowers, trees, herbs, insects, etc....left me in awe of nature's perfection!  Enjoy!
    After the tour, I headed to my next overnight spot...The Dixieland Music and RV Park in Waldo, FL.  I arrived just before dusk and was greeted by the most endearing couple...Greg and Joy.  Joy took care of my registration and Greg made sure I got just the right site and got set up okay.
Their hospitality didn't end there.  They told me about the great little diner, the huge flea market across the street and even called upon a friend to give me directions to where I wanted to go!  I had told Joy a little about my trip and left her a card and told her I'd catch up with her for some happy news!
     I had a blast at the flea market, the diner was terrific and I rode my bike all around the grounds!  Monday morning came and I stopped in the office to say good-bye to Joy.  We sat for a while and she shared some of her beautiful life with me.  Bright Spot -  Listening to the ways Joy has enthusiastically participated in her life brought tears to my eyes.  For 30 years, she was a 'catastrophic event' manager where her duties included coordinating teams of doctors, attorneys, insurance companies and case managers to insure that the proper treatment and care was given to anyone who had been involved in a life altering accident.  She told me about her most cherished success story.  A young man in his 20's lost his arms in a machinery accident.  She made sure he got his prostheses after a period of healing and made modifications in his home as well.  Best of all though she spoke with his 'old boss' and arranged for the young man to be rehired as a safety manager!!!  She was a real estate broker in her early years and went back and got her GED at age 39.  She went on to earn her degrees and certifications.  Back in 1967, Joy ran an orphanage for 50 girls AND started a church in Port au Prince, Haiti.  Joy explained that a few weeks ago, she had her right eye removed because of a serious cataract condition.  She is currently waiting for it to heal enough to be fitted for a 'new eye' (prosthesis).  She told me how grateful she was to at least have sight in her left eye smiling brightly throughout the entire conversation!  I was at a loss for words, so I hugged her.
    These moments of  human interaction...of sharing "life" with everyday extraordinary people like Joy and the many many other Bright Spots so far along my journey is what is making my adventure so much more than I could have possibly anticipated!!!   With every corner I turn and each path I take, I look forward to the next blessing in my life!
spectacular labyrinth at the gardens
















just LOOK at this tree

ying yang resting spot in the Asian area

waterfall through gazebo




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