For the latest installment of WATCHxWITNESS, we were down season. The weather and insects were stacked against us. Roads were closed, flooded or completely gone. It’s a federal offense to feed the gators; we bore “out of state plates” and the heavy droplets would extinguish our every attempt to discharge pyrotechnics. The first few days? Nothing. It would take time for us to acclimate to the slow pace and hidden treasures of the jade green Everglades. Our usual techniques were deemed useless, but we adapted, and as the peoples of the swampland began to recognize us, we settled into the conversations and context of the “New Yorkers fixin’ to get themselves into somethin’ tricky.”
Eventually the people believed in us and sent us in the right directions. Sensing the childish adventure parade in us, they pointed out the right ways, with “right at the giant rock” or “hundred yards back, there’s a hole in the fence,” type of directions. Charming. We traversed gator-infested waters, and found specimens both dead and very alive. We got relentlessly attacked by insects and never fed a thing to anything — besides our own mosquito blood sacrifices, of course. We ate frogs and reptiles in various breaded shapes and fried forms. We got kicked out, invited in and welcomed home. We were told stories of a changing environment plagued by pesticides and human greed, and other stories of a land detailed in magic and mystical Mother Earthlings.
WATCHxWITNESS walked away with the sense that the southeastern part of this vast region they call the Everglades is doing well. They want you guys to know they’re great, and are just fine being left alone.