In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Everglades National Park and its partners proudly hosted the Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition! This program engaged 10 aspiring writers and journalists, ages 18-25, on an exploration of wilderness, self-discovery and environmental writing. These aspiring writers embarked on the journey of a lifetime to discover the beauty and complexity of the Everglades wilderness.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

YOU NEVER KNOW (By Nadijah Campbell)

This is my second day out in the wilderness as part of the Everglades Wilderness Writers Expedition. Today had it’s many ups and downs and I appreciated every one of them.
I woke up to this uncomfortable feeling of something was attacking my face but I didn’t see anything around.  I was being attacked by bugs called “noseeums.” Unlike mosquitoes which stick “needles” into you to draw blood they spit acid on you, causing small burning sensations, and bite through the tender skin to get the desired blood.  Once I put my bug jacket on it wasn’t too bad and thankfully after the sun rose they were gone.
Journal Entry 1: Morning at Writer’s Cove – 5 Senses of the Everglades
Visual- Rising Sun, water shining, water moving floating leaves, dark blue sky, hammocks, pairs of birds soaring through the sky, green mangroves and twisted roots, swarm of gnats in the sunlight, peach, orange and blue skyline
Auditory- Chirping, King Fisher Bird calling out, singing, snoring, rustling of leaves, groggy voices, rushing water
Tactile- Solidarity of board, calloused fingers, itching from bugs, stickiness, cold wind weeping across my face. Inner warmth
Ol’ Factory – Salt, Morning Breath, Outdoors
Gustatory – Tart Mouth, Sweet and sour kiwi, fresh water
Journal Entry 2: First Day Experience
1. What do I look forward to? I look forward to being in solitude but surrounded by nature. I’m excited to learn new things and see what I would have never seen in the city.
2. What surprised me? Seeing the stars so clearly and knowing that if I looked up every night they’d become familiar and that they wouldn’t leave me. They make me feel so close even when they’re so far away.
3. What was the hardest part? Relying on others and having to explain thing to others that I may have understood right away. It’s hard working with dependent people as someone who has been independent all of my life.
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been eating things I usually wouldn’t eat like fake cheese, powdered milk, and all off of not so clean bowls.
For breakfast we ate granola cereal with powdered milk and dried kiwi. For lunch we had pea – no nut – butter and jelly tortilla sandwiches ad for dinner we had spaghetti.
Natures Surprises
For the second day in a row I wanted to give up. We were supposed to make it to land, a wonderful beach site where we could walk around and pee without fear of tipping  and falling out of the canoe (earlier in the day I almost fell exposed butt and all out of the canoe as my boat drifted away from the mangroves I held onto for dear life). However, Mother Nature decided that she wanted to show us who was in charge she was and she made the winds too strong for us puny little humans to make it across the bay.  However, now that I look back at it, maybe Mother Nature was trying to show us how not to be afraid and how not to constantly seek  out the easy route because if we always chose the easy path, we’d miss out on things that made life so extraordinary.
When we received news that we wouldn’t be making it to land we all slouched, we all became quiet and frustrated and we paddled with less intensity and heart than before. We had no real destination except a place that could protect us from the wind. There was wind everywhere. We were defeated. Someone asked me  how I was liking the trip so far and quite frankly I wasn’t. I had been through two full days of paddling in intense conditions and hadn’t really experienced much except for cool looking stars and sore shoulders. I replied with a simple “I wish we could see more wild life.” Ten minutes later we heard shrieking and saw something splashing in the water. We all froze and waited to see what was going to happen next.
A large wave rocked our canoe and water gushed into the air as a Dolphin arched beautifully out of the and with a great splash returned. Yes there are dolphins in the Everglades. This is the moment we were all waiting for. Laughter replaced our grimaces as we took a break from paddling in sheer excitement and tracked the wave of the dolphin as it swam ahead of us. It made me think. What else was below us and around us that we couldn’t see?
As we paddled a little longer Mother Nature showed us more of the Everglades’ beauty. A head kept popping out of the water. We didn’t know what the head was until I had the honor of confirming it’s origin. The yellow head as big as my two fists together, maybe bigger, with large black eyes poked out of the water a few feet away from my canoe and I screamed “It’s a sea turtle!” Yes, there are sea turtles in the Everglades. Getting the chance to see my favorite animal was honestly all I needed to make this trip one of the best experiences of my life.
“I would do this everyday, well not everyday, but often.”
Entry by: Nadijah Campbell

No comments:

Post a Comment