It has always been an interest of mine to consider the nuances involved in my encounters with others, those that are nourishing and even those that are more distasteful for some reason. In recent years, my interest has broadened to include encounters with animals, nature, books, movies and now, online conversations with people who I treasure yet may never meet.

Monday, July 16, 2012


 When my British Twitter friend, Felicity Lennie, teasingly suggested I write a story about gators, a fanciful short one ensued. The Dora Canal is near my 'back yard,' and connects two large lakes in Lake County, Florida. The picture is one that I took while kayaking on the Canal.  Here is the fanciful story.

   It was getting late. The setting sun, though only glimpsed through the trees that bordered this canal, was beginning to meet the horizon. I paddled a few strokes yet felt too serene to disturb the peace of this environment. All the boats had completed their passages on the way to the bigger bodies of water connected by the canal. There was just me surrounded only by the flapping wings of a few passing egrets, big blue herons and kingfishers, their fishing done for the day. Music began to surround me, a cacophony of sounds made by frogs, cicadas and other unknown species of night life: Serenity.
    A gentle movement of the water rocked my kayak. “It does not get much better than this,” I whispered as the sun offered its final kiss goodnight. Sighing in contentment, I put on a visor-type headlight from my pack to help me find my way from the canal into the small lagoon of home. Just as I dipped my paddle into the water, two loud slaps hit the water behind me causing me to jerk around much too fast. Night time loud noises in a swamp-like canal can get scary. My kayak dipped down, flipped and into the canal I went. Grabbing the paddle, adrenalin pumping into overdrive, I treaded water, turning round and round looking for the source of those slaps. My headlight was still operational so I could see several pairs of eyes, glowing deep red: Gators. They were not moving though. They were in the distance. Keeping an eye on them, I got the kayak flipped back over.
   As I caught my breath, still treading water and looking for a cypress knee big enough to climb up on and reseat myself back into the kayak, a monstrous-looking head with glowing red eyes surfaced in front of me.  I screamed then, loudly, and kept screaming, thrashing fearfully about with my paddle. The huge gator never moved. Adrenalin finally empty, worn out, I simply gave up, muttering, “This is it,” facing the demon that would end my life.
   The gator never showed any aggressive kind of move. Instead, continuing to look steadily at me, he spoke. Yes, in my mind, he-spoke-to-me. I heard thoughts that were not mine. “It is all okay,” his thoughts said. “I stunned a water moccasin heading to you. They slither into anything and sink their venom into any living thing so I slapped this one away. Some kinds of beings, even you two-legged types, are not tuned in to the synergistic flow of the universe. They act out of very basic instincts for survival, unable to tune into having any further purpose in the bigger picture. You are one of the two-legged beings and I am one of the big clawed, scary-looking beings who are tuned in. You have nothing to fear. I innately knew that I was to take action, to save you. This is not the way you will go though, if it was, it would simply have been your way, your time. Climb onto my back. It’s bumpy, a little uncomfortable but tough enough to support you. I’ll get you back to your lagoon.”  Still in a state of conscious disbelief yet also in touch with the flow of innate understanding, I pulled my body onto the back of this gator and grabbed the rope of my kayak.

No one in my community saw me return that night. If they had, it would have been chalked up to be a delusion. I doubt if anyone could have believed the sight of me on the back of an 18 foot alligator with a kayak trailing behind. To this day, I’m not even sure if I believe this happened to me. I only know that a deep level of compassion and respect for life, for all species, and our synergistic purpose in the universe gives me pause to walk through my day with more awareness. I still kayak in the Dora Canal though, by twilight, I now enjoy the night music while sitting on my porch.   



  1. What a story with tons of tension. I'm glad Felicity suggested you write about this. Did I tell you that I love Florida and cannot wait to move there one day. My youngest son wants to move there next year as well.

  2. When you do move to Florida, Sonia, you will get to once again leave the freeways for flip flops (unless you land in South Florida!). Thanks for visiting :)

  3. This is simply amazing :D Thanks for sharing ... Alligators get a bad press, but they were here first after all!