One warm day last week was perfectly glorious. Pure white clouds sailed across a sea of brilliant blue, carried along by a breeze that kept the day from getting too hot. (The hot days will be coming soon, in May when summer pushes spring aside.) This glorious spring day last week nudged me outdoors. My more adventuresome daughter had a day off from work, and she was ready to explore, so my son and I went along for the ride.
Our adventure would lead us to Silver Glen Springs and to an old sinkhole where a few lonely dogwood trees bloomed on this glorious spring day.
The trail was named after the book, The Yearling, by Florida author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings who spent time with the last family to occupy this area over 75 years ago. In 1876 Reuben Long first built his homestead in a shady hammock of oak and pine surrounded by the arid Big Scrub. Over the years, a dozen or so settlers came and went. By 1933 only Calvin Long and his family were left. Known as "Pat's Island," this shady spot was the setting for many of the events depicted in the novel, from family stories told by Calvin Long.
The pair of birds seemed to be keeping an eye on us as we tried to get a closer look at them. One bobbed its head up and down while making an unusual rattling sound. Perhaps it was a warning call. Later I learned that this distinctive bird was the rare and endangered Florida Scrub Jay, which only lives in the oak scrub habitat of Florida. Seeing these beautiful scrub jays was another highlight of our day as we walked along the Yearling Trail.