Sunday, July 6, 2008

In My Own Backyard

I opened my mail yesterday, thrilled to discover that I received my new and improved passport. Immediately my travel bug began biting me again, and I spent the greater part of a Saturday night sniffing around for airfare deals, European rail passes, and travel writing information.

This morning I woke up in a more realistic state (Florida), reminding myself that the Euro is outrageous, airfare is skyrocketing, and I live in a pretty cool place that I have barely begun to explore. So Europe will have to wait a little while longer. In the meantime, I should slow down and enjoy my homeland.

Here are some pictures from Bok Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is built in the very rural community of Lake Wales, Florida. You probably haven't heard of Lake Wales unless you're from this area. Aside from the sanctuary belltower, the town's other claims to fame are Spook Hill--a haunted hill where your car will allegedly drive upwards when in neutral gear--and the visitor's center for Florida's Natural Orange Juice. There is also a lake, Lake Wailes. And yes, I spelled that way on purpose.

Once inside the sanctuary, the quirkiness of Lake Wales fades away and you're left with singing birds, brightly colored flowers, carpets of green grass, and majestic oaks decorated with Spanish moss. It's a lovely place, and unless you brought a screaming baby or a cranky grandparent I don't know how you would not find yourself completely at peace. The cloudy skies took some of the color out of the scenery during my visit, and it still remained beautiful. I would love to return in late February or early March when the spring flowers are blooming.

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