After Hours

Crossing the dotted lines
How invisible lines shape our thinking

Dotted lines warp our view …

Of how a watershed naturally works

Available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

I‘m not saying let’s do away with the lines.

All I’m saying is let’s try to find some common ground.

As seen in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve

This National Park Service placard at the trailhead to Big Cypress Bend boardwalk has always intrigued me. It’s a state trail, part of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park which was established in the mid 1970s. So the placard predates the dotted lines that eventually went in, but to me – both then and today – it’s a reminder that our modern-day boundaries are not set in stone, nor should our thinking simply stop wherever they start and end.

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This Just In: “Fakahatchee Strand is getting a new visitor center at Big Cypress Bend, which will also lengthen the boardwalk.”

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Bobby Angel Campfire

Ballad of a Florida Panther
Engineer and panther forge a lasting bond

How to you make a road safe …

for the panthers (and other animals) that cross it?

Bobby Angel is a troubadour of the Nature Folk Movement (NFM)

In this Bobby Angel standard, the singer/songwriter recounts the story of a transportation engineer named Krista who was called in to help prevent panthers from getting hit by vehicles on the Tamiami Trail. It’s one of the swamp’s most scenic roads, but also one that crossing wildlife often finds itself in harms way. At some point the song veers off into fantasy with the transportation planner and panther escaping into nature and forging a relationship for life — but is it fantasy, really, or just how life should really be? To answer that question, you’ll have to watch the video and judge for yourself.

Be sure to stay on after the song to hear an interview with Bobby Angel about the song. Topics discussed include an exclusive inside scoop on the making of the smash hit, including never before revealed details on his first sighting of (what he thought initially) was a “large dog,” why they used to be more rare than seeing Ivory-billed woodpeckers, the movie magic of he videos opening scene, and how the use of silhouettes really make the video pop.

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Dino

Dinosaur interviews himself
What a wonderful guest!

What’s the secret …

To a good interview?

Firelight Radio is available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Some would say ample research on the topic you’re trying to discuss.  Others would say having a good set of questions.  Still others would say inviting in a good guest.  But for me, the secret to a good interview starts with the host.  It isn’t so much the questions or the answers as it is the good conversation to be had.  And really, for that to occur: Is there really a need for anyone else?  Answer: I would say yes.  The caveat is you better be comfortable having a dialog with yourself first.  And that’s why in many ways this is a breakthrough interview. 

Among the topics we cover:  My new idea for a great app, new details on the Time of Great Phonelessness (i.e. Before Phones), how phones stole our memories, the difference between prescient and clairvoyant, why a ranger kept returning to the swamp and what made him stop, the difference between a tree and a large blade of grass, why cigarettes are healthier than cell phones, how banjos went viral, and more.

Big Cypress Half
And why it's so important to the larger whole

Someone I greatly admired told me:

“We can’t spend 100 percent of our effort on half the problem and expect to solve the problem.”

Listen to the song

More specifically, he was talking about Everglades Restoration and the need to spend more time, energy (and yes money) on fixing the hydrology of the Big Cypress half. Part of the issue stems from how Big Cypress National Preserve and the larger Big Cypress half of the pond has been framed. Long perceived as an separate and isolated watershed from the Everglades to the east, there is growing recognition that the Big Cypress Swamp and the Everglades — and most of all the restoration of all the freshwater and estuarine habitats they contain and feed — are tied together at the hip. The good news: The tide seems to be turning. And just in time. With all the success being achieved in other parts of the Everglades, the Big Cypress Swamp is the new and important frontier for getting the entire ecosystem right.

As for the video: It’s an interview about a song I wrote at the retirement of a long-time ranger who worked at Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Both the song and the interview explore what I call the Big Cypress Paradox — the contrary state of the swamp being described as so many people’s “favorite part of the Everglades” only to have it drop to the bottom of the list when the restoration money gets earmarked.

Escaping defeat
Victory lap into the trees

In the pandemic state of modern times,

Work gatherings are difficult to find.

Song (above) and lyrics (below)

That didn’t stop Bobby Angel from penning a song even if he inadvertently missed the party. Thank you Laurie for you contributions over the years, And most of all defecting to the Big Cypress! And also to Rita for tracking me down and encouraging me to write a song. Sometimes Bobby Angel needs prodding, or as is the case in these strange times just a reminder that someone is leaving when everyone is telecommuting from home. More about this song: I wrote it almost a year ago one the eve of us thinking everything was about to back to normal. So much for normal, or whatever hybrid of normal takes shape whenever and if ever we emerge from the post Covid-19 now Omicron coccoon.