Saturday, November 15, 2014

"A Delicate Bowl of Jade"

-Green Springs as described by a visitor in the late 1800s...

...a rare sulphur spring in Enterprise, Florida. 11/2014.

Green Springs is a very small public park located north of Lake Monroe in Enterprise, Florida, and is one of my favorite places. Wandering to its ethereal waters, looping its trails, and even picnicking next to the tiny waterfall have all helped restore some of my sanity over the last few years. My most recent visit has reminded me just how rejuvenating the place can be. It seems to absorb my cares and instill in me a creative motivation that few things are able to inspire. It is amazing how such a small place can have such impact.

The beautiful jade green waters are not always so. You have to catch it on a good day. The color is the result of an interaction between the sulphur discharge from the springhead (lateral vents) and algae naturally occurring in the water. Sometimes, the springhead stops flowing and the waters darken, more the color of a jar of green drawing ink and not as opaque. The color is restricted to the sink that contains the springhead - a widening shaft that descends some 76 feet to a silt-covered limestone bottom. A stream leads from the spring and drains into Lake Monroe, quickly losing the green color and becoming clear, with a slight brown tint from the tannin-producing breakdown of dead leaves. 

Over the years I've noticed that the best time to see the jade color seems to be in the cooler months and after a heavy rain when it is at the height of its other-worldliness. Not only does the water fairly glow, the grey skies cause the color to pop, and there is often a mist held in the air just above the water. If the park is empty, you can be swallowed whole by the scene, it is quiet except for the wind rustling the leaves and the occasional bird. 

My reflection looking up at me from the spring and a retaining wall that was built in the 1940s. 11/2014.

Green Springs Photo Gallery 2011-2012

A darker day (and apparently a fish-eye lens), though not as dark as it can get

Resurrection fern on live oak

Banded water snake 

Tannin-heavy stream to the north of the spring

Resurrection fern

Oak/Tillandsia canopy

Of course I lacked a camera for the otter encounter; this is the stream it floated down, quite shallow

Jewel-wing damsel fly on Syngonium

Tiny waterfall to the north of the spring

The park closes at sunset, but I do not immediately go home. Some of the most beautiful sunsets I have observed occurred over Lake Monroe. I leave the park, barred owls cackling, go up the road a short distance and am able to park at the boat ramp to conclude my afternoon.

**Spring facts in my post are from the informative signs located in the park.

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