New Leaves

An Everglades Wood Stork contemplates life!

Flamingo, FL

What Do We Do Now?

Feb 01, 2014 by Arthur

As I write this blog entry, my wife and I are sitting in the front seat of our van in the middle of a campground deep in the Everglades, typing away on our computers. The day is a cloudy and rainy one, and we’re both feeling a little bit of energy loss, perhaps due to the cool temperatures, mosquito bites, and cloudy rainy weather. So, the question is: what do we do now?

Since we are staying at almost the furthest point south in Florida, Flamingo Campground in the Everglades National Park, there’s not a whole lot to do. . .especially on a rainy cool day. As we’ve been told many times by Park Rangers and Volunteers, this park was created not for people but for the protection of the animals who live here. Therefore, we are not supposed to disturb the natural wildlife as we canoe the streams, ponds, and bay areas. In other words, we can “step to the edge and look in” but we mustn’t go further than that.

We have learned that much of the natural wildlife here in the Everglades has been almost extinguished from the Park. Animals such as the Marsh Rabbit, Raccoons, the Florida Panther, and even the pink flamingo (last sighted in the park area back in 1902), are rarely seen in the Park today. Some of that is because of the way water has been drained from the Everglades in order to create more and more city areas for people seeking places to live. That has cause a lot of the Everglades to “dry up” and be unable to support many wildlife species that used to inhabit this National Park.

Some of the danger has come from the introduction of the Burmese Python into the Park. Since the regulations concerning animal imports fail to address this very serious problem, the situation becomes worse as each year passes. It has been suggested that people have purchased pythons as pets (usually only 2 or 3 feet long) and discover that within a year, that snake has grown from 2-3 feet to 6-7 feet and is consuming more and more food which causes an even greater growth. So, what to do? The remedy has been to bring the snake to the Everglades and release it into the wild. But since the Everglades is not the natural home of the python, the natural enemies of the python do not exist and control over reproduction growth is lost (since a single female python can produce 100 eggs and breeds all year round).

Oh, I forgot to mention, the Burmese python loves to snack on Marsh Rabbits, Raccoons, birds, and even alligators. Studies have been done that show when rabbits have been released in the wild with tracking devices, it doesn’t take long before those rabbits are eaten by the pythons, leaving their tracking devices to be found in the stomachs of pythons or in the refuse of pythons.

So, what do we do now? Well, as far as the pythons are concerned, there doesn’t seem to be any easy answer. They are pretty well entrenched in the Everglades Park and are even making their way north and could soon be found even in Georgia. Efforts have been taken to slow down their population, but all of those efforts have ended in failure.

Concerning the water problem, steps have been taken to bring the flow of water back through the Everglades and beginning this year the blockages to the water flow have been removed and water is beginning to return to the Everglades. But the process is a slow one and will not be accomplished in a few months or even a few years. Therefore, the problems are still with us and leave us asking the question, “What do we do now?”

As I began writing this blog entry, it seemed as if we were someone wondering what we could do on a cloudy rainy day. But I think the question is far greater than just how to get through a rainy day. Bonnie and I have been seeking to know God’s direction for our lives since leaving our church family after 34 years of ministry. We have been asking God the question, “What do we do now?” And so far, as we have traveled we have seen God at work in many peoples’ lives and have witnessed the power of God in churches intent on doing God’s will, but we haven’t gotten a personal answer to that question yet. So, until we do, we will continue to trust Him every day; continue to read His Word and pray; continue to seek to be a blessing to those we meet; continue to keep our hearts open to His leading in ways we might not expect; and continue to rest on the assurance of His promises to us that He will indeed direct our paths.

In short, while we are still breathing we are confident that He isn’t finished with us yet! He will be with us to the very end of our lives and we will know that the way in which He has led us has been exactly what He has wanted. . . .and that will be good!