A Visit to the Great Outdoors

Or at least a teeny-tiny piece of it. But I'm jumping ahead of the story. Let's start at the beginning.

This morning, I went to the library to pick up a book that I had put on hold a few days ago, How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein. After I picked up the book, I decided to satisfy some idle curiosity and pay a visit to the Jim Fleming Ecological Park on the way home. It was created last year on a small parcel of land next to Lee Boulevard, the six-lane road that is the main drag through Lehigh Acres. It's very small, only about a block long and perhaps a hundred feet wide. I drive past it every night on the way to work, but had never stopped off to see what was there. Today, I had the time, the weather was nice and it wasn't so late in the morning as to be unpleasantly hot, so I thought it was time for some exploring.

When I got there, I found that there was a parking lot at one end, with a pair of nearby pavilions containing a picnic table and a grill each. I was amused to note that one was constructed and donated by the local Rotary Club and the other by the local Kiwanis Club. The rivalry meant double the number of picnic pavilions, however, so it's all good. There was also a raised plaque dedicated to Jim Fleming, the county water district employee whose brain child the park was, as well as a port-a-potty for those who could not ignore nature's call.

Beyond that was the boardwalk, which was raised over the surrounding swampy area. There were some small cypress trees and various other water plants, including some with small purple flowers that were being tended by several industrious honey bees as well as a large blue-black bumblebee. I spotted numerous small blue dragonflies, and when I got to the far end of the boardwalk (which was about fifty yards away at the most), I saw a couple of red dragonflies as well.

On the negative side, I saw the trashy side of humanity, with two or three pieces of trash thrown in the water. Come on, people. Use the trash cans. It's not rocket science.