Writer Annette Thompson has traveled to the Florida Everglades more than a dozen times. Here, mindful of the fragility of one of the South’s last wild places, she describes the things she treasures most.
One February, near the Flamingo Visitor Center, I stumbled onto a flock of white pelicans. With saucer-sized feet and 9-foot wing spans, they looked clumsy, but they flew like acrobats. Later I saw thousands more birds--roseate spoonbills, anhingas, tri-colored herons, egrets--by Paurotis Pond’s banks. More than 350 species live in The Everglades, and that afternoon it seemed as though they’d all settled here. Against the backdrop of green mangroves, they looked like bright Christmas tree ornaments, glistening in late afternoon sunlight.