Reflections and ramblings from my 2016 vacation in Florida.
I’m at the point in my practice as a spirit worker that my senses are pretty much always on or are very easy to access. Sensing spirits is like turning on a switch for me. There are instances where I turn off my senses, either out of respect or for my own safety or both. However, since I was on vacation, I figured that I was allowed a bit of sight seeing of the spirit variety.
My first day, or rather evening, in Florida made it very clear that I needed to respect nature in this place. I had landed after a delayed and turbulent flight, not exactly in a decent mood. However, it is tradition that we go out to dinner on the beach the day someone arrives. The restaurant was on the beach, and looking out towards the ocean. I have never seen such a picturesque image. The full moon was rising and was an unobscured beacon of light. Behind it large thunder clouds produced heat lightning. All of this was reflected on the ocean waves, rough because of riptide conditions, crashing against the pier. It was perfect and it was a reminder of who was in charge here.
The next day, we rented a boat and traveled along the inner-coastal. Canals weave together like alleyways in the city with rather expensive housing on either side. Soon after we left the docks, I spotted some merfolk. The looked more annoyed at us than anything, likely preferring the quite now that tourist season is mostly over and the canals mostly empty. Later in one of the areas where you were allowed to speed up, I spied water horses swimming to keep pace with the boat. I don’t think that they were hippocampi but I’m not familiar enough with water spirits to know one way or the other. I think that they mostly enjoyed the large wake of the boat more than anything.
Another day we went to the Everglades. I did not see any specific spirits here, but I did feel something. I have felt dying plant life before. I once made the mistake of trying to connect with a dying tree and the experience has stayed with me years later. The Everglades….felt a bit like that. They felt like decay, but not in the natural way. It was a reminder that nature can only take so much. Places that are considered natural wonders are not immortal. It was a somber reminder that I will not soon forget.
My final encounter with water was towards the end of my vacation. I have noticed that when I am outside and deeply connecting with nature, that I start singing and humming a song that was sung at a Lakota sweat lodge I participated in. I don’t remember much of it except a general tune but it’s a signal all the same. We had gone to the beach around dusk. I left to walk the beach on my own for a bit and began humming that song. I noticed that this beach had more tumbled stones than it did shells. One of my goals had been to find hag stones. I try to be aware of the environment in my craft though. I am teaching myself to only take what I need, and not what I want. I had picked up a fair few stones when I heard a spirit say “No more.” I agreed with them and stopped searching. Oddly enough, my grandmother, who had caught up to me and was actually combing the beach a ways ahead of me, also stopped looking at this point. On our way back I looked out toward the ocean. The spirit I saw could only really be described as a genius loci, a spirit of place. I feel like he was the spirit of the beach rather than of the ocean itself though. He was giant, easily a mile shoulder to shoulder. He was also very serious. I gathered that he was not happy with all of the people that took too many shells and stones, or left their trash in the sand to float out to sea. We didn’t talk much, this spirit and I. I doubt he has much interest in humans. Out of respect for his domain and a general respect for the land as a whole, I kept my word to take no more. I was tempted a few times and sternly reminded.
That was my last distinct encounter with water spirits on my vacation. Overall they left me with a clear message. One needs to have the highest respect for the land, wherever they are. It is not our role to take until there is nothing left, or to ignore the consequences of our lifestyles. The land is not immortal and it is not infinite. We need to be aware and be active in sealing the wounds we have torn open.