Farewell and keep observing

-A A +A
By Nancy Oakes

Well this is it. You are reading my last Wild Observations column. I started writing my nature observations for the Williston Pioneer 12 years ago. Not bad for an idea I pitched to the editor and owner of the newspaper then, Skipper Hammond. She wasn't sure it would work and neither did I, but encouragement from readers kept me going. Thank you to those who gave me positive feedback. I really appreciate it.

I have no plans to try and write a similar column in Georgia. That doesn't mean I won't be observing nature. I will walk and kayak and maybe horseback ride, just like I did here. And I will continue to enjoy watching the wildlife around me. I also want to continue traveling. I'm already signed up for a trip to Morocco and Tunisia in Northern Africa. The trip is already paid for, so whatever the financial market does won't change that.

Some people have asked me why Georgia? Do I know anyone there? No, I am going to a place where I don't have any connections. I'll join some groups, probably a crafting type and maybe a reading club. I'll explore the wilderness of this new area. I might volunteer at a wildlife preserve. For some reason, I really enjoy learning my way around new places. I've already discovered a German bake shop that has the best salads and breads.

I've also checked out the nearest library, and they have internet access.

I never move because I don't like where I'm currently living, at least when I move from state to state. I've lived in New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Florida. In all of these states I enjoyed exploring the natural areas near my home. I certainly like a lot of things about this part of Florida.

Our springs are wonderful places to swim and relax. I doubt I'll ever find more exotic and wild rivers to kayak on then here. I've already mentioned the local fall wildflowers.

They're stunning. Recently a house wren, newly arrived from further north, has been singing such a lively warbling bubbling song that I always smile when I hear it.

I won't see so many local wading birds like herons, egrets and ibis in Georgia. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but alligators don't live as far north as I'll be living. No lovebugs or fire ants either.

I'll see more hardwood trees that lose their leaves in winter and not our beautiful live oaks and other evergreen trees. But those hardwoods do get some pretty colors on their leaves before they fall.

I'll remember my times in Florida as mostly good. I'm also looking forward to learning about and exploring my new home in Georgia. Wherever I've lived, nature has always been there to observe. So goodbye and good observing.