Just a short post this morning, about how much I enjoy the "connecting" part of my work, and I'm using this picture because it sets the scene so well.
This part of Florida is pretty-much wall to wall people; housing developments, roads and businesses. But, if you drive just a little to the south, down in Lithia, a rural setting unfolds that tells a different story.
I showed up at the "R&R Ranch" to interview a woman who offers horse boarding and riding lessons. The particular interest for the newspaper is the summer day-camp R&R is offering for kids. Her mission is to put suburban and city kids in the "real" Florida setting. Additionally, there is the healing relationship horses often develop with troubled children.
We've all heard of people who are "horse whisperers"... but this is one setting where horses get to be "kid whispereres".
There are animals galore, of course, all over the place. Cats, dogs, chickens, goats, ducks (including one who thinks he's a chicken and another who thinks he's a puppy!), around 15 horses, rabbits, and then this friendly fellow - who thinks he's a bunny!
So I sat at a wooden table in the shade of a real live-oak hammock, made some new friends, listened to some great stories, and reconnected - if only for an hour or so - with the authentic Central Florida that I first fell for years ago, back when I was a college student.
If only we take the time to listen, to explore, to take it all in. Remember, when you're planning your weekend, what you can learn from the people all around you.
It really is a very wonderful world!