Monday, March 29, 2021

Neglecting the natural

This is going to be a short rant, so if you hate rants, please feel free to skip the post.

I am staying in Kissimmee near Orlando in Florida. As some people may know, this city hosts the theme park Walt Disney World. What most may not know is that there is a nearby preserve that is called the Disney Wilderness Preserve, which is maintained by the non-profit Nature Conservancy.   

I visited this preserve and I was amazed at the beauty of the place.

The major part of the preserve is open Pine lands with absolutely gorgeous fields of grasses (dominated by the usual Andropogon and Aristida spp), and sprinkled with multitudes of shrubs and forbs and other plants. Even though it was a scorcher of a day, I barely noticed as I was busy glancing around and taking pictures of the colorful landscape.

The sad part was that there was barely any visitors to the park. A handful of cars dotted the parking lot, and  we did not meet any other hikers in the trails themselves, although a couple followed in our wake for a short while.

Meanwhile, I am sure the nearby theme park was packed with people (or at least semi packed, given the still potent sting of Covid-19), who probably would not give a darn that this preserve exists. We live in a world where artificial pleasures reign supreme; a time when virtual excitement through videogames and other activities far removed from the natural are the norm.

I am not really mad about this. People are free to choose what fulfills their lives. But I am sad that such beautiful places as the Disney Wilderness Preserve barely attract notice in our modern frenetic world.

Update (January 25, 2022): I have had more occasion to visit this place and I am glad to say there are times (especially the weekend) when there are quite a number of people visiting and appreciating the natural beauty of the preserve.

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