"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul." ~ Luther Burbank
Spider Lily -- Hymenocallis crassifolia
"In the relations of man with the animals, with the flowers, with the objects of creation, there is a great ethic, scarcely perceived as yet, which will at length break forth into light." ~ Victor Hugo -- Aimer, c'est agir.
“The life of man is as a flower’s.” ~ Maria Sibylla Merian, 1675.
The Rose family includes the Southern Dewberry -- Rubus trivialis.
'If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather.' ~ "A Match" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Dainty Sulphur -- Nathalis iole, feeding on Common Beggar-Tick -- Bidens alba
'The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.' ~ William Wordsworth
i think this is a Monk Skipper -- Asbolis capucinus, visiting the Blue Morning Glory -- Ipomoea indica
‘I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.’ ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”
Yellow Vigna aka Hairy Cowpea -- Vigna luteola, edible relative of Black-eyed Peas and Mung Beans.
“Botany, the eldest daughter of medicine.” ~ Johann Hermann Baas
Sabal Palmetto inflorescence -- Serenoa repens
'Let that which is to come be as it may,
Darkness, extinction, justice, life intense,
The flies are happy in the summer day,
Flies will be happy many summers hence.' ~ John Masefield, Sonnets, LII.
a Common Tickseed -- Coreopsis leavenworthii, provides stalking ground for a Green Lynx Spider -- Peucetia viridans.
"Guard himself as he may, every moment's an ambush." ~ Horace
Lance-leaved Violet -- viola lanceolata
"The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks." ~ Tennessee Williams
'The true point of the spirit sways,
Not like a ghostly swan,
But as a vine, a tendril,
Groping toward a patch of light...' ~ T. Roethke, Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks, 1943-63.
Zebra Longwing -- Heliconius charitonius. the FL state butterfly is one no bird will eat.
'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying...' ~ from "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick
What Spanish explorers called 'el lagarto' -- the lizard, was later formalized as Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), FL state reptile and threatened keystone species
"The alligator dominated the freshwater marshes of South Florida much as did the buffalo on the Great Plains before the white man appeared." ~ Frank C Craighead, 1968
Black Vultures -- Coragyps atratus -- Zamuro, smallest of the three North American vultures, locates food by sight
'On one side of silence there is no smile;
But when I breathe with the birds,
The spirit of wrath becomes the spirit of blessing,
And the dead begin from their dark to sing in my sleep.' ~ Roethke, "North American Sequence", 1964.
'Words, let water from an unseen infinite Ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying
and even the dead.' ~ Rumi
Turkey Vulture -- Cathartes aura
'I never knew how beauty grew
from ugliness, until you flew ...' ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Bald Eagle -- Haliaeetus leucocephalus
"If you yourself can withstand three cheers at beholding these vivacious fish, then heaven help ye; the spirit of godly gamesomeness is not in ye." ~ Herman Melville, "Moby Dick or The Whale", 1851
Manatee -- Trichechus manatus, nibbling at a clump of grass in a boat channel on Marco Island. Can consume 60-100 lbs of aquatic plants per day.
DYK: the word buccaneer comes from 'buccan,' a Mayan word for dried manatee meat. Pirates raiding Spanish treasure ships in the Caribbean relied on this food.
Propeller scars reveal one threat these gentle giants face.
Brown Spiny Sea Star -- Echinaster spinulosus
Banded Tulip -- Cinctura lillium, a predatory gastropod
"Time sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail; but a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly." ~ Ivan Turgenev
Apple Murex -- Phyllonotus pomum, another carnivorous snail of shallow waters
'...I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.' ~ from "Sea-Fever" by John Masefield
Banded-Arm Brittle Star -- Orphioderma appressum
"A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty." ~ R W Emerson
“The sea never changes and its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery.” ~ Joseph Conrad
Florida Fighting Conch -- Strombus alatus, an algae eater
"In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration." ~ Ansel Adams
All three great animal groups -- mollusks, arthropods, and chordates -- display traits of worm ancestry.
'how do you know the moon
is moving: see the dry
casting of the beach worm
dissolve at the
delicate rising touch:
that is the
expression of sea level.
the talk of giants,
of ocean, moon, sun, of everything,
spoken in a dampened grain of sand.' ~ from "Expressions of Sea Level" by A. R. Ammons
Shark Eye -- Polinices duplicatus
"They say that God is everywhere, but we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse." ~ Emily Dickinson
Coquinas -- Donax variabilis, thrive in the surf zone of undisturbed beaches.
"Far larger is the capital provided by nature and not by man -- and we do not even recognize it as such." ~ E F Schumacher
Netted Sea Star -- Luidia clathrata
"You must respect life forms for themselves rather than for their human uses... Learning humility and empathy is not an easy task, especially in today's industrialized society... At best, we are taught to appreciate nature as though it were merely a scenic attraction and not the source of life itself. Contrast these values with those of the Native American ... who understood in his heart and soul that his own survival depended upon their continued well-being." ~ Tom Brown Jr. 'Toward a Deeper Awareness', 1983.
'...for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves that we find in the sea.' ~ e. e. cummings, "maggie and millie and molly and may"
Variegated Urchin -- Lytechinus variegatus, foraging over an exposed shoal during low tide.
These urchins arrange small items on their backs for camouflage.
'The burdens of the world
on my back
lighten the world
not a whit while
removing them greatly
decreases my specific
gravity' ~ "Correction" by A. R. Ammons
Live cover is defensive camouflage for some Spider Crabs, Libinia spp.
"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength." ~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder