Tranquility? Or a Killing Field?

An area of our development just outside our front door area.
The view from our living room window

The community where we live is surrounded by a golf course.  The entire property is  beautifully landscaped with lush, tropical plantings and many water ponds.  On our morning and evening walks we will often stop to watch wildlife such as egrets, pelicans of all varieties, blue herons, pink flamingos, soft-shell turtles, and alligators.  Occasionally a couple of golfers in their carts will drive near us and scare away whatever critter we may have been quietly watching.  This has prompted Gorgeous to complain several times that golf carts have no place on a golf course.

The rules of the development are very clear about traversing the property: Under no circumstances are you allowed to walk on the golf course, night or day.  I have no idea what kind of person would want to walk on it at night.   Walkers, joggers, and bikers therefore take to the main circular road for their exercise, and cars are required to go at a speed of no more than 15 mph.  This speed rule is broken regularly, including by your humble blogger.  There have been times when I have recklessly driven at top speeds of 25 and even 30.  Nonetheless, most of the time drivers do slow down as soon as they see someone, and there is almost always a wave from driver to walker.  Early on we saw the wave as yet another example of a very friendly community.   Now, however, I’ve come to realize it really means, “I see you!!!!”

We have so far only seen two alligators. They are fascinating to watch, though they rarely move.  You can stand there for a full ten minutes and it won’t move a muscle.  I’m told that you can toss a pebble at one, and all it will do is write down your name.¹  Still, we’ll keep our distance.

By far the waterfowl are most interesting to me.  We’ll walk by a pond and see nothing, and then in the next minute a head will pop up that you recognize as a beautiful egret or pelican.  The other day we saw one do this with something in its mouth.  “Aw, it caught a little fish to eat,” exclaimed Gorgeous.

Aw?

That did get me thinking.  I guess cuteness is in the eye of the beholder.  I’m no expert on wildlife or animal psychology, but I’m fairly certain that the little fish found no reason to see this as cute, adorable, or quaint.  For that matter, I’m also certain that these waterfowl are no doubt mindful of the alligators who are watching them next to the sand trap on #12 or from their clandestine perch at the bottom of the pond.  And then there are the turkey vultures that fly overhead in circles, ready to swoop down on the remains of some poor creature that didn’t survive the vicious attack from something bigger and larger.

So, yes, we enjoy the tranquility and beauty of our new home.  I just have to wonder if that sentiment is shared by all the denizens here.

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An egret taken by Gorgeous (November 2014)

¹ I have shamelessly ripped off this joke from Bill Cosby’s “When I Was A Kid.”

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