While visiting Vaughn’s mum, Doris, in Sun City Center, Florida, we went to Little Manatee River State Park, and it wouldn’t have been like me to miss this chance.
A wetland borders the river itself.
Close to where Doris lives, in a retirement community called Kings Point, an obscure waterway emerges from under Hwy. 674.
It crosses a fairly wide grassy area, is fed by a ditch or two as it crosses, then enters Kings Point proper.
Along the way a trickle flows in from a culvert, forming a small pool where the flow is blocked by some rocks. It’s full of tiny fish, making it seem as if nature has seized this opportunity to create a fish nursery. They are barely visible in the photo as specks against the yellow rock. (Click the image to see a larger version that you can zoom in on.)
There’s a wide place in the stream where the water circles and a tributary enters, from the far side in this photo.
What can’t quite be made out in the background is a small waterfall that I of course had to get closer to. I couldn’t reach it because of the thick brush — and by this time, I had tramped (in sandals) through plenty of tall weeds which seemed ideal for both snakes and poison ivy. But I did get this picture of the tributary flowing over the top of a concrete barrier.
Again, one wouldn’t think, looking at this unnamed quickly flowing stream, or at the Little Manatee River, that shortage of water is a critical issue in Florida — but it is. The aquifer is getting depleted, and maybe that accounts for the taste coming out of the tap, a flavor of minerals, salts, who knows. More and more developments are under construction, with lagoons and golf courses, practically every few miles one sees new clearing and building underway, but the water supply isn’t getting any larger. As the aquifer depletes, there is less and less pressure of fresh water to hold back the incursion of salt water from the ocean; if sea water infiltrates the aquifer it will at some point no longer be drinkable. These are simply facts.
There’s a lot of dry in Florida too. I didn’t photograph that.
People can’t help but focus on water. It is what shows, what stands out in the landscape and pulls us towards it. I’m no exception.
The aquifer does not show.
Perhaps I should stop taking pictures of water and photograph drought. But would anyone want to look at that?
Is this entertainment that I’m creating here?
What is the rhetoric of this performance? I question the effectiveness of repeating “Be alarmed,” but there is no technical fix for demanding more water than there is to be had. We Americans seem unable to recognize the approach of limits and adjust accordingly. I’m not going to repeat this again and again, but we’re cooking a recipe for trouble.