The gentle humming of bees

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) on a horse trail

Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area is one of 31 such reserves in Palm Beach County, Florida; fourteen have “public facilities” -- trails, sometimes port-a-john restrooms, and rudimentary signage. That’s all you need. These are little pockets of sanity, ranging in size from only a few acres to several hundred. During the 1990’s the county set aside $250 million for conservation, and almost half went to purchase land that had previously been farmed or logged. But this is Florida. Give it half a chance and nature takes things back pretty quickly. The result is this wonderful checkerboard of natural areas, scattered across the county. Many shelter threatened or endangered species. The Florida Scrub Jay, for instance, owes its existence on Earth to the habitat left in a couple of these parks.

Take water. Take binoculars. Take pictures. Take your time. Take a breath.