Don’t Forget Your Walking Stick!

Circle Bar B Reserve had been recommended to me by nearly everyone I’ve met since moving to Lakeland. People rave about the paths for walking or bike riding. Photographs fill Facebook with the variety of birds, plants, amphibians, and bugs that make their home there.

I love seeing God’s love displayed in nature.

Today my schedule and the weather allowed me to venture on my maiden trek at the B. Thankfully, a neighbor was also able to go. While making plans a couple days ago, she ended our conversation with, “don’t forget your walking stick.”  I told her I did not have one. She assured me she had an extra one she would bring.

The next day I was talking with some other neighbors and mentioned Patty and I would be going to Circle Bar B. They responded with, “don’t forget your walking stick.”

I looked at them and asked, “what’s the deal with the walking stick? I keep being reminded to take one. I don’t have one, but I am not unstable on my feet. And I am not that old. Are the trails rough?”

Tim and Cindy smiled and said, “you want it to flick a snake out of the way if it comes across your path. Or you may need it for protection from other wildlife or animals.”

Ohhhhhhh. That makes sense! And now I want my own walking stick.

There is so much to learn in a new community and environment. While on the nature trail today I learned a couple fascinating tidbits about alligators. Did you know . . .

See the gator between the two lower to mid log shadows?
  • The temperature of the nest in which the alligator eggs are laid determines the sex of the hatchling. Below 86 degrees F makes it most likely that females will hatch. Temps above 93 degrees F will most likely hatch males. (Don’t ask me what happens between 86-93 – maybe twins?)
  • The distance, in inches, between a gator’s eyes and nostrils will approximately equal their total length in feet (e.g. 4 inches between snout and eyes likely means you are looking at a 4 foot gator).

Patty and I had a great time. Neither of us needed to use our walking sticks for defense or offense. At least on this trip. But I’ll be ready next time. And if you come to visit I’ll rustle up a second one to share!

feedback-3387216_1920We’re never too old to learn new things. What is something new you learned recently? Please share; I have much to learn!


I understood the intent of the law when we were told several times during our first day at Wonder Valley that this was a closed campus and we should stay inside the gates.  They even went on to tell us that it was meant to protect us from the animals we could see all around on the other side of the fences.

As I was out for a walk around campus today I could see a large herd of bulls on the adjacent property.  Actually I heard them before I saw them, and even thought to myself, “that’s a little ‘angrier'” sound than a typical moo.”

I got to the camp gate and thought, I think I’ll just go to the end of the road and take some more photos.  It was only a short distance to the road.  While standing there enjoying the beauty I thought I would try again to use the panoramic feature on my camera; it is something I have not yet mastered.  With the sunshine being so bright I couldn’t quite see what was in the camera viewer, but just kept panning.  As I made a full circle and put my camera down I saw him . . .

One bull, then another, trotting through the field I had seen them in earlier, coming my direction.  In fact, one was only about 5 feet from me!

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to NOT scream, or to run so as to entice these large creatures who could clearly outrun me.  But I did turn rather quickly and walk quickly back to the gate, periodically glancing behind me. All the while I was thinking, “Joan, Joan, Joan – you heard the rule, why did you think you are above it?”

Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.  Psalms 119:29

Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good.  I long to obey your commandments!  Renew my life with your good ness.  Psalms 119:39-40

You have done many good things for me, Lord, just as you promised.  I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.  Psalms 119:65-66