Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Imagine a vast Everglades of primitive swamp wilderness transformed in a little over one hundred years into a dense urban megalopolis called South Florida. Nowadays, close to ten million people reside along this narrow strip of land stretching north to south in Palm Beach , Broward, and Dade County along the southeast coast of Florida. Envision further a heavy infiltration of visitors and part time residents from northeastern U.S. states, French Canadian Quebec and various other Latin American countries each winter-spring times in south Florida during what’s commonly called “The Season.” Thus begins the mad scramble of human competition to enjoy our coastal sun, sea, and air amenities for these four to six months of the year. So for this longtime Fort Lauderdale resident, you might understand why I diligently search during “The Season” to find accessible spots for peace and quiet along this congested beachfront coastline.
Consider as well my reasoning for making a first time visit last week to the “Bonnet House Estate and Museum, a historic landmark of notable interest within the popular Fort Lauderdale beach district of Fort Lauderdale. In one sense, Bonnet House estate’s thirty five acre “protected” expanse of lush tropical vegetation and gently rising sand dune formations functions most prominently as as one of the few remaining coastal “protected” areas in Broward County to buffer urbanized areas westward from feeling the destructive effects of our annual hurricane season. Yet this so named barrier island encounter on my day trip felt so much much more to me than a dividing juncture to block wind or rain disaster inland. For as I casually strolled this unique oasis showcasing so many artistic, architectural, and ecological gems along this self guided trail, I’d realized that I’d also stumbled upon a special place to relax amid nature away from the “maddening crowd.” Some upcoming nature events to be held in 2022 at the Bonnet Complex that “caught my attention” included the Orchid & Garden Festival, a “forest bathing” walk” and various birdwatching classes.