I drove past a small pond outside of Londonderry, VT a few years ago and watched an otter slide across the ice, look around as if to say "watch this" and t dove through a hole in the ice. From that day forward, I expected to see an otter at that same spot. Every time, no matter when during the year. I never saw an otter there again. But never stopped looking. Now anytime I see an amazing wildlife sighting I expect to see it again in the same place. I call it Otter Syndrome.
I had a full-day Everglades trip today and while my group was on the boat ride (where I filmed the Dolphins last week), I stayed on shore. I can only take the boat captain's jokes once a month. I stopped in at the Everglades National Park gift shop and noticed a baby otter stuffed animal and thought how cute it was - I should get one for mom. It made me sad for a moment but I decided otters shouldn't make anyone sad and let the thought pass. No doubt that will make my sister cry.
After lunch my group headed for our swamp walk which follows a boardwalk 1.6 miles into the Fakahatchee Strand State Park. Along the board walk are interpretive displays like Poison Ivy - in front of a tree covered in poison ivy. Live Oak in front of the live oak. River Otter - in front of a pool of water. I joked to the group that this is where the otters should be. I saw otters here in 1999 and there's a sign here. This is where otters should be right? And we moved on. Further down the walk was a sign for White Tail Deer and I laughed again at the idea that a deer would be right there. And one of the group said "There's a Deer!" And there was! Very odd. It's not unexpected to see the Bald Eagles in front of the Bald Eagle sign, and we did, but on our way back out of the swamp, guess what was in front of the otter sign? Mama otter and two of the most adorable baby otters you can imagine. They played and pounced and dove into the water with their mama. I was only able to get this terrible picture, but that's ok with me. Mama is on the left - one baby is on the right...rolling in mama's urine for some reason...I better go look that up and find out why.
I couldn't help but think about my mom on the way home. When I lived here before and would get stressed, there was a place I used to go on Pine Island to watch the sun set and think about her way out in Montana. It calmed me. I called it my Happy Place. As I drove home tonight I heard her voice tell me to go to the Happy Place. I did - and this is what I saw.