Cultural Water

More than a just any old liquid and way more than just a science, water strikes at the heart of us culturally.

Intro - A river runs through us

Water is a part of who we are

By Robert V. Sobczak

How central is water …

In our lives?

Water is at the heart of who we are

Probably no other substance, baring oxygen and carbon, do we rely on more. We need oxygen to breath, chains of carbon to eat and water to drink. But water is a lot more than just subsidence. It courses through every element of our lives. A topic of some of the greatest art and the earth’s most scenic spots, water is the foundation of our collective identify and connection to nature. And I’m not talking about our ecologic connection. People are attracted to water in all its forms. Water is both nurturing and at times, even a threat. But most of all it is ubiquitous in our lives as individuals and a society, from a deeply-woven multidisciplinary sense.

You can’t be a good historian without also understanding water. Ecologists ignore water at their own risk. Theologians of all creeds embrace the sacred nature of the substance. Recreation and water go hand in hand. Water is the great shaper of our lives, both by force and us trying to harness the bounty it can bring, or the plague of famine its absence may forebode.

We are attracted to waters at sunset

We pray for rain to fall as much as we pray for the rain to stop when its flood waters crest against the levees we’ve built to hold it back.

In sum, water is more than a sum of its parts. It’s ubiquitous in all aspects of our lives and we identify as individuals and citizens of the earth.

Recent Blog Posts

Big Cypress BOUND
Bobby Angel's 3rd Studio Album

I could have done it on a podcast …

Or even sent out a fancy press release.

Bobby Angel’s campfire concert in the heart of the Big Cypress, and release of his 3rd studio album

But when it came right down to it, I really couldn’t rationalize announcing the release of my new album Big Cypress Bound any place other than at a campfire concert event in the heart of the swamp. This album was a long-time coming as much as it happened all of a sudden, really in the course of a week, without me even understanding what was going on. The catalyst? Let’s just say a domino fell. And then another. And then one more. Before I knew it I had 11 songs.

More about the album, directly from Bobby Angel’s press agent (i.e. that’s basically Bobby Angel wearing his agent hat):

About the Album: Big Cypress Bound is Bobby Angel’s third studio (some say “campfire”) album. Big Cypress Bound picks up where The Green Album and New Pangaea left off, and this time with a twist: Could this be the singer/songwriters last album in the flooded countryside of the giant trees that he’s called his home for the past twenty odd years? Pivotal to answering this question is the interpretation of the term “bound.” The some 11 songs on the album (and the interviews afterwards) explore his connection to the Big Cypress and what may lie ahead. Or is it just a yearning for a simpler way of life? As usual, Bobby Angel lets you be the judge.

More about my albums: (1) In the Nature Folk tradition, I weave story telling into my songs. Thus the songs are separated by interviews about the song where I tell what the song is about. (2) My albums are YouTube playlists. As you’ll see below, you can either listen to the full album front to back or pick out individual songs and interviews to listen, too. Just like an old vinyl record if you remember those days.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

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Bobby Angel Tidbit: Bobby Angel’s highest grossing (i.e most views) song is Ballad of a Florida Panther.

American Flag

Belgium’s seal of Florida?
And how I found it by chance

I didn’t expect to find …

A seal of Florida in Belgium.

As seen at the Henri Chapelle American Cemetery

But there it was plain as day, and engraved on a smooth limestone column, as were all the other 49 territories and states. The reason: I had biked upon the cemetery where 7,992 American soldiers are buried, all killed in the line of duty during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Some views from the memorial

The cemetery is located on top of one of the areas highest hills, with a breathtaking view, and was probably of great tactical importance from a military standpoint. I stayed long enough to pay my respects, take a few photos and then stare out into the expanse. I thought about all those soldiers, what they gave up, and what their lives could have played out had they not given the greatest sacrifice. Most of all, I was overwhelmed by the peacefulness and beauty of the spot. It was almost heavenly, there at the time and now thinking back.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Fact: The Battle of the Bulge was a four week battle that resulted in 75,000 US casualties including as many as 20,000 dead.

Major Water Speech
And it's relation to the smokey boiler room

When is it a good time …

To talk about water?

Burt’s Water Speech

Answer: Probably at any point during a campaign, or after it for that matter, too. To quote a close friend, water will always be on humanity’s Top 3 priority list. Family, peace, water. Maybe not in that order. In this epic speech, in true Burt fashion the candidate lays bare his passion for the substance at the same time he isn’t going to reveal his hand as to what may or may not be in his cup when he’s playing high stakes poker in the smokey boiler room at night. Why? If Burt understands anything in life, it’s how to play a hand, be it weak or strong. In his view, him revealing whether he’s drinking water or something else is akin to the most dreaded of card table (and/or negotiation) faux paus — a tell.

So you’ll just have to trust Burt when in comes to the water, or whatever’s he drinking.

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Reality: Water and politics go hand in hand.

Lost art of the morning commute
And why its better than a cup of coffee

The biggest challenge of being an adult …

Is the day in and the day out.

Available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

And probably nothing personifies that more than the commute ride in and out of work each day.  Of course in modern times, the work team has become fractured by the unexpected but now ubiquitous rise of telecommuting.  Pandemic inspired, it seems to have become the “new normal” in many lines of work.  Much like cell phones have taken over the quotidian of what we once called our lives, I wonder what the telecommuting trend will mean for long-term team building in the work place?  As usual, nobody seems to playing to much attention to what may or may not happen, which brings us back full circle to the day in and the day out.  People usually do whatever it takes to get by.

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Unsure: There’s obvious benefits from working from home, but what’s the right balance?

Major tourist draw?
And why it's bigger than it looks

It may not look like much …

At least at first glance.

Ochopee is home of the world’s smallest post office

And really there’s not much of a view …

Now that Brazilian Pepper has boxed it in.

And possibly the most photographed. But why?

But believe it or not, the rather non-descript shack is one of the swamp’s biggest visitor draws, even bigger than Monroe Station before it burned down. I’m often left to wonder why. Maybe its small size makes it easy to photograph, and photograph it people do. By the hundreds. Maybe even more than Naples Pier. Well, maybe not that much. But a lot. Which is all the more perplexing because its a very claustrophobic spot, surrounded by a rather unsightly and impenetrable thicket in back, at an odd bend in the Tamiami Trail in close proximity to tractor trailers rumbling past, and on an uneven gravel parking lot. Yet there they are, tour bus after tour bus unloading passengers to line up one after the other, sometimes in groups, to take a photograph almost as if it were the Statue of Liberty or some other national spot of acclaim. Important detail: It doesn’t even have restrooms!

More about the building: It has a hydrologic pedigree. It was previously a pump house for the farm field in back. When a fire burned down original building to the ground in 1943, the pump house was brought in as a makeshift fix. Eighty years later its still there.

To me it’s one of the great mysteries of the swamp. Other similarly small post offices scattered throughout the swamp were closed down without fan far. Why this one has both withstood the test of time and remained such a popular destination eludes me every time I drive by. Only gators rival the post office for being more photographed. And yes, the cypress trees are jealous!

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Trivia: Ochopee Post Office is 61.3 square feet, or about 6′ x 10′.