swamp run

Z has probably had the most drawn out birthday of his life, going on a month or so of celebrations.  We started out with a dinner out with my parents rounded out with a birthday feast at his sisters and various shopping sprees for his favorite Legos.  He is an AFOL which is either fun or expensive, depending on the day.  The piece de resistance in his loot bag was a pair of tickets from his parents to take a 75 minute airboat ride out at Loughman Lake Lodge.  About an hour from home off the beaten path at the end of a dirt road.  We pulled in, deeply out of our city element amidst giant pick-em-up lifted trucks and motorcycles parked in a field next to the swampy lakeside.  A country band tuning up on the patio next to the lodge which houses a restaurant (bar) serving up fried okra, pickles and catfish.  We checked in and were walked by our guide, Carl to the airboat.  The other party that was booked to join us was a no-show so we got the boat all to ourselves.  Carl did a great job pointing out bald eagles and nests of baby gators.  The wind was high and there were lots of people out in the swamp in other smaller (sportier?) airboats so we didn’t see any big fella gators.  He drove effortlessly over beds of swamp grass and flowering water plants through alleys and more open water.  He took us all over back waterways and we really didn’t even encounter other boats which I guess was due to his skills as a captain.  He said he’s lived in the area and on the St Johns River his whole life and from the weatherbeating on his skin I judge that to be fifty plus years.  It was peaceful in a noisy rackety kind of way-feeling like we were the only ones for miles and miles.  I love the teeming loneliness of the swamp.  The distinct feeling that it is filled with live just below the surface that buzzes with dragonflies and the occasional large seabird.  I have been waiting to do this for a long time and I wasn’t disappointed.

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