Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Monday, 27 November 2006


Myakka River State Park, Florida – 27 November, 2006

We spent the night in the park. I woke up at 1:30 AM. There are no cell broadband signals here so I finished the new Stephen King “Cell” paperback.

We drove to Myakka Lake before dawn and set up the camera and tripod. Hundreds or thousands of raptors flock back and forth, landing in the treetops. I think they are rare ospreys until daylight breaks and I realize they are turkey vultures.

In the 1960’s I worked at Florida State University with Dr. Pate, who had an Army grant contract to study turkey vultures. She would pay “good ole boys” $75 for a turkey vulture. Her study involved injecting increasing amounts of botulism into the vultures until they developed what she called “limberneck” and died.

There are many tiny Florida deer, hogs and gators here. It’s nice that they have preserved a few square miles of Florida. Most of the state is now condos, parking lots and interstate highways.

The State park has rental canoes and bicycles as well as airboat “barges” capable of carrying 30 tourists.

When I was young we lived on a lake where the gators ate our dogs and ducks. Rattlesnakes crawled into the yard. We gathered burlap bags of oysters from Tampa Bay. The wild places were just next door.

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