We begin with our morning view across the church lot to the parsonage where Pastor Ralph has long been up and at it for hours.
We had our breakfast and walked a block east of Frog and Toad on Pearl Street to the town dock and boat landing. The Caloosahatchee is a peaceful and beautiful river, where its still allowed to be. Reminiscent, perhaps, of its meandering life across Southwest Florida when its only human inhabitants were the Calusa and Seminole Indians.
Many of the homes in this small town have fruit trees growing around them. And homes that no longer have people in them still have their fruit trees blossoming and producing, like this small tangerine specimen. Sweet and tart at the same time, one was enough to try.
The very first library in all of South Florida was dedicated here in Alva in 1909. Today the building is the town museum (open Saturdays, 2-4 pm). The Lee County library system has consolidated and now the nearest stacks of reading material, beyond the local elementary school, are in Fort Myers Shores, about eight miles west on rte 80.
Continuing west just beyond the library, and before you get to I-75, is the regional power plant, and its Manatee Park. It seems most if not all Florida coastal power plants have a Manatee viewing park. That’s because the Manatee, who require 70 degree or so water throughout the winter have learned that the power plant cooling towers release just the right temperature of water into their normal northern migration paths, and the plants protect the manatee throughout the season from power boat accidents.
These creatures are most like the elephant in physical attributes. It seems in intelligence and memory as well. Perhaps neither an elephant nor a manatee forgets. These mammals, often called Sea Cows, keep coming back to where the water is warmest in winter.
Lee County is probably more famous worldwide for its beaches, but they are only a tiny part of this big county. Cattle, wild birds of all kinds, and citrus fill up the rest of the district.
Speaking of filling up, tonight the Alva UMC Praise Team filled the church with song as they practiced with Pastor Ralph for this very busy upcoming week of services and praise.
In that regard please keep Bonnie and David in prayer. You may remember in yesterdays blog I mentioned that their home burned almost a year ago. Their new home is almost ready to move into and today they received another hold up of some kind so they will no doubt remain in their mobile home till the new year. And they have family visiting from up north. They are crowded and its just been a very long time.
All in all its been a good day. Returning home across the dark church lawn under the starry sky, listening to the soft chirping of night things in the woods around the coach, reminded us of how fortunate we are.
We have slept in noisier places with convenient shopping and lots of security lighting. We have slept in RV park and gotten to know other RVer’s more personally than in a Walmart or Cracker Barrel lot. And we have known the quiet stillness of the Kansas State-County Fishing Lake sites, and Lebanon UMC near Shiloh, Tennessee. And now quiet, peaceful Alva, Florida.
Mona and I seem to be in agreement; if there is a choice, we’ll take the quiet darkness, and the starry sky not obliterated by security lights. Our God is our protector this night, and all nights. We remember this especially as we prepare to welcome Emmanuel, God-With-Us, again this Christmas.