What a difference a day makes

In case you haven’t noticed, it has been raining or threatening to rain around here for about a week now.  I love cloudy skies, but I have gotten used to Florida’s much more typical afternoon rain shower on a mostly sunny day.  And while cloudy days can be amazing for photography, so can sunny ones.  Frankly, I was getting a little sick of the cloudy type.  So today, when it was gray again, I practically had to force myself out and about.  MJ and I decided to go back to San Felasco Hammock, but to do the other side.  Yes, San Felasco is the place I went yesterday, but I promise you, it was different today!  It wasn’t even the same trail at all.  This is the trail that I heard a growl on one day and turned around on and never went back.  But for you, dear reader, I will brave the growling beast to bring you something new and wonderful!

Of course, the whole San Felasco thing can get a bit confusing around here, because there are at least four San Felasco parks you can go to.  In this case, I’m talking about the state park on whatever Millhopper Road is called out there once you leave the city limits.  The “other side” is the part you have to cross the street for.  Now, if you live around Gainesville, this probably makes sense to you.  If you don’t, and don’t ever plan to visit, ignore these directions and enjoy the scenery.

The State of Florida has a wonderful sense of welcoming guests, wouldn’t you say?  This is the first thing you see when you get through the switchback gate that signals, as MJ says, “they really don’t want fat people here.”  I’m pretty sure the gate is really just to try to keep the animals from running into the road so easily, but I don’t think it has to be quite such a tight squeeze.

Back to the happy thoughts.  For some reason, this side of the park was a goldmine of fungi.  Who can resist such a perfect little mushroom as this?  It was sitting there, all alone, which is kind of unusual for mushrooms, since they generally like to be communal, like these pretty orange fungi on a twig, which are mixed with the green ones that I think are fungi as well, most likely some type of lichen.  I love the way the orange and green are interspersed on the twig.  It’s really quite striking.

These stripey ones on the log remind me of plates that my friend used to have when we were kids. I guess her mother probably owned them, but they remind me of eating at her house and having fun.  I know, I’ve done them before, but I still like them.  And I love this whole log full of them.  As much as I admire the fungi around here, I should probably pick up a field guide so I at least know what to call them, since some of you probably do and are cringing at “the stripey ones” right now.  If you do know, please feel free to tell me.  I never mind learning new things, especially when it comes that easily!

This little pineburst of a tree made me laugh when I saw it.  I think even Charlie Brown’s tree had more to it than this one!   It was so cute and funny, sitting there in the middle of the woods with just the single tuft of needles that I had to capture it.  I hope you like it, too.

What really got me though, was walking back and seeing that the sky was clearing and the sun was shining through the trees!  For this shot, I had to take of the lens hood, just so I could get that little flare up there in the corner.  It would have been a really nice shot without it, but that flare gives the sun a little more emphasis.  The Spanish moss hanging down to catch the sun helps to punch up the dreaminess you see before you.

Although the sun had just begun to show some color, when I looked to the east, it was still bright blue, making it the perfect foil for this bare tree.  There was evidence of a recent fire all around the entrance to the park, and I believe that this tree was one of the victims of the fire.  Or maybe it’s just a late bloomer.  Either explanation is entirely possible.  In any case, the tree and the blue sky reminded me of a Dali painting.

The sun continued to shine as we left the park.  The color was beautiful and soft from the remaining clouds.  As I was walking back to the car, I looked across the road and saw this lonely road of dreams scene.  I really wanted to ride of into the sunset, but alas, I live to the east.


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