The Road to 65, Mile 74: Reversing Course and Meeting Butterflies

February 10, 2015, Gainesville, FL-This has been one of those days when I am reminded that deeds done by others, with the best of intentions, can backfire and take innocent people down with them.  It just makes me weigh my own words and deeds that much more carefully. In a nutshell, my mother-in-law said she didn’t want any visitors, including me.

I was ten miles away, at that point, and so turned around, in south Ocala, feeling quite calm, actually.  I think my angel was carrying me through the rest of the day.  I had two confirmations:  One was stopping at Jim’s BBQ Pit, in Reddick, just north of Ocala.  A bubbly, very pretty young lady served me as if she were serving her father, or a favourite uncle.  The food was comfort, also:  Smoked chicken, barbecued beans and slaw, with a fabulous house barbecue sauce.

The second stop of the afternoon was Florida Museum of Natural History, on the campus of the University of Florida, at Gainesville.  The institution traces the state’s varied conditions and changes, focusing on the Pleistocene and on some of the Indigenous peoples, who pre-dated the Seminole and were ancestors of the Miccosukee.  The icing on the cake, for me this afternoon, was the Butterfly Rain Forest.

The Pleistocene exhibit’s star is the Colombian mammoth skeleton.  Colombian mammoths ranged south of their woolly cousins, and had finer hair.

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A Mastodon was featured next to the shovel-tusker, for comparison.  Mastodons ranged in north Florida, as well.

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A family of Paleo-Indians was shown in the next hall. Florida’s indigenous people had a very rich culture and system of governance, well before Europeans arrived here.  The Apalachee, of the northwest, and the Calusa, of the southwest, were powerful, savvy and industrious people, pre-dating the great council-oriented Creeks, who became Seminoles, once they came down to Florida, with the British, in the 1700’s.

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My attention was spotty at this point, so while I read and absorbed some of the remaining information about the Native Peoples, I needed nature.  So, off to the Butterfly Rain Forest it was.  The following pictures, presented without comment, represent a cross-section of the Lapidoptera and their surroundings.  See how many butterflies you can spot.

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Butterflies are vital, in a variety of ways.  There is some attention here to Monarchs, but also to Swallowtails and Blues.  I recommend this to all residents and visitors to the Gainesville-Ocala area.  After such a rejuvenating afternoon, I headed north and spent a restful night in Bainbridge, GA, north of Tallahassee.  Glen Oaks Motel and a salad from Zaxby’s, served by another pretty, congenial young lady, capped the day.  Actually, a Zalad can make three meals, for someone like me.

7 thoughts on “The Road to 65, Mile 74: Reversing Course and Meeting Butterflies

  1. There is always something to learn from reading about your adventures. And I just love places that have live butterfly exhibits. I could sit in those rooms all day, watching all the beautiful colors of the various butterflies. I’m glad you were able to change course and find some peace. I hope your mother in law finds her own peace as well.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your mother-in-law’s rejection after such a long trip! Too bad she didn’t tell you before you set out. I hope it will be a temporary thing, and she’ll be welcoming the next time you visit. The museum and butterfly garden look like wonderfully relaxing responses — I love the colors and the activity of a butterfly garden!

    • She is going through dementia. She was fine with my visiting, until an event happened, the day before my scheduled visit, which triggered a fright response. It had nothing to do with me, per se.

  3. You know how to turn a disappointing day around. (I’m glad to see you’ve had your fill of barbecue as well!) I counted five butterflies and lots of beautiful flowers.

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