The old Everglades are gone. Draining a swamp used to be a metaphor for improvement of the mistakes that nature had made (or just for changing things to suit your desires). People aren't so sure any more that this alteration of the natural environment was a great idea, but it's essentially irreversible. In a few places there are efforts to restore swamp-like habitats for plants, birds, and animals; appreciation for the natural beauty of a swamp has replaced the old view that swamps were ugly and undesirable. The photo above shows the restored area at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, which opened in 1996. It is simultaneously a wildlife area and an open-water area that purifies waste water: the county sewage treatment plant is adjacent to the park-like wetlands, though you can’t see too much of the plant from the beautifully designed boardwalk.
This area of South Florida around Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County made me think about the former environment, the Everglades, and its replacement with the built-up environment of mansions on the beach, fishing piers and yacht harbors, giant shopping centers, vast gated condo communities, retirement homes and health clinics, wide roads and turnpikes, and all the other elements of city life. Throughout the region from Miami to at least Palm Beach, the swamps are gone, but you can see evidence of their history in the small ponds between the buildings of the condo complexes, along the roads, and in the parking lots of shopping malls and business centers. You can also see that builders try to beautify their creations -- at least sometimes.
|An interesting sculpture decorates an apartment building.|
|A mural of flowers & birds on the wall of an office building. People may love|
plants and birds -- but maybe not the natural ones!
|The intracoastal waterway is another example of the development of a man-made and controlled environment.|
|Nanday Parakeet at Boynton Beach Inlet Park. This exotic bird's ancestors|
were caged pets, but escapees are now considered resident birds in Florida
and several other states. They've been there for decades,
another intersection of humans with nature!
|Fishing from the pier at Boynton Beach inlet -- the built environment changes|
the natural environment -- drastically!
A Japanese Garden: Taming Nature for Human Aesthetics
The Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach started as a project by Japanese immigrants in the Yamato Colony a small Japanese farming community nearby, and are now stunningly maintained by a foundation. Japanese gardens are a fascinating way to appreciate nature in a highly controlled way, and have been developed in Japan for many centuries. In the Morikami Gardens are examples of rock gardens and other types of gardens from several eras in Japanese history.
|The Gardens display a collection of Bonsai. The art of Bonsai seems to me to be one of|
the most amazing ways that people have tamed and interpreted nature. Training a Bonsai
tree takes many years, sometimes decades.
This blog post and all photos © 2020 by mae sander for maefood dot blogspot dot com.