Transitioning to Marco Island from Sanibel Island hasn’t been as easy as you’d imagine. Sure, we left a wildlife refuge to move to a mostly developed island a little further south, but sometimes, it feels like we have moved to the edge of the world, especially when you glimpse at a map. My five-year-old even drew me a picture of our drive to our new home and said, “And here we are at the end of the road.”
Now Marco Island doesn’t have the gator population of Sanibel, but I am told you can see one on occasion. For a moment, I wondered if I would have gator withdrawals, not having one to three, ten-foot gators lounging in my backyard twenty-four seven, but then I was reminded of my new proximity to a place that makes born and raised Indiana girls shiver in their suburbia worn Nikes…the Everglades.
Yes sir, ladies and gents, from a psychological standpoint, moving to island numero cuatro hasn’t been smooth at all…Though only a forty-five minute drive south of island number three, we are much closer to the Everglades. We ventured a short distance down the road that leads through the Everglades last week, and let me tell you the first hand knowledge I now have regarding the proximity of said glades has reconfirmed what a complete and total wuss I am… (It has also brought up the question, why, exactly, does my husband keep moving me closer to the Everglades???)
So, is this an irrational fear, you ask? And why is Sarah so anti-glades? Does she have something against airboats?
Well, some people like to reference my so-called, overactive imagination, the fact that I am a fiction writer, and of course other people, no names here and they are certainly not people in my own household, even drop the ‘ crazy’ word from time to time. Undiagnosed mental issues aside, there are zero issues with my twenty-twenty vision, thank you contact lenses, and I can, in fact, see on the map how close we are to the Everglades. And if I didn’t know how to read a map, there is always my local news to remind me. Here are just a few stories of late, attesting to some of my phobias…
Last week, a lady had her kayak eaten by an alligator in the Everglades. Yes. People go kayaking in the Everglades.
And I’m the one with the mental issues.
A few days later, there was a young man on the news who survived an alligator attack here in good old Florida. He had more stitches wrapped around his skull than I could count.
Just days later, local news cameras showed an alligator a bit too close for comfort- swimming right outside a lady’s FRONT DOOR. All of the rain we are getting right now is flooding random neighborhoods.
Last year at this time, we saw a news story about the Floridian boy who lost his arm to a gator. Lucky for him he was a born and raised in the Sunshine State, so he knew how to wrestle the alligator. (Note to self: see about finding a gator wrestling class for the kids. Maybe they can fit it in between soccer practice and ballet lessons.)
With all of these gator stories, who has time for withdrawals??
Not me. I’ve seen two alligators on the side of the road in Naples, the closest town to the island, in the past month and haven’t even stopped to photograph them!
I’ll stop with the gator stories and do realize that only one of those stories were regarding the Everglades, but let me quickly mention that I live in an area that hosts a yearly python challenge, where people are paid to hunt the thousands of non native pythons that are infesting the Sunshine State…from their very cozy community in, you bet, the Everglades! Don’t even get me started about my python anxiety. According to my trusty internet sources, there was only one python- a nine-footer-captured on my new island a couple of years ago, so I admit, the chances are not good that I will encounter one while walking my dog or riding bikes with my kids.
But even so, do I feel warm and tingly about my move CLOSER to the Everglades?
Well, I probably won’t be purchasing an airboat any time soon.
For now, I will continue to survive this wild Florida territory, even closer to the Everglades, from the safety of my home. From time to time, I will pack up my mental issues and venture out into the developed landscapes surrounding me, where I might capture a photo of a Green Heron, like I did the other day. When I must drive down Everglade road or through a suspect area, I will pray that my car does not break down in a cell tower free area. If it does, and my body is never found, I will come back to haunt certain relatives who ridiculed my insecurities and possibly another who moved me to this place to begin with. In the meantime, I will continue to monitor my local news, and I will hope that this photo of the Green Heron can entertain you. (The party of five upstairs and our internal debates about the many ‘what –ifs’ of life at the end of the road entertain me plenty.) 😉