Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The Nature Coast

 The Nature Coast


When I was growing up in Florida, geography was easy. Our part of Florida was defined as the West Coast (meaning on the Gulf of Mexico) with the Panhandle to the north. There was the East Coast (all along the Atlantic Ocean), and the Florida Keys to the south. Large regions in the middle were labeled North Florida, Central Florida, and South Florida. And of course, we had the Everglades, which were a separate entity altogether. 

Sunset on the Nature Coast

In the early 1970’s Florida added “Disney World,” or as my husband calls it, “The House of the Mouse” as a Central Florida landmark. 

Weather forecasters would say, “We’re expecting some rain this afternoon here on the West Coast, but folks at Disney should have clear skies all day long.“


I moved to Ohio in 1978. I’m now back in Florida and trying to figure out what happened to the state I knew in my youth. Yes, it has grown in population, with houses and condos seemingly sprouting up everywhere, but I’m talking about the geography of the place.


Now, the weather is defined by the Space Coast, the Treasure Coast, and the Gold Coast…all on the Atlantic side... while on the Gulf side, we have areas such as the Sun Coast, Emerald Coast, and Nature Coast


There’s even an area known as the Forgotten Coast…but don’t ask me where it is. I don’t remember.


Mike and I live in that area known as the Nature Coast. 


Aptly named, by the way.  We see deer on our way to church, critters like rabbits and squirrels in our yard, Great Blue Herons on our beach, and fish, turtles, and gators in the lake. There are birds in the trees, dragonflies and beautiful butterflies in the green grass and flowers. The Three Sister’s spring in nearby Crystal River is home to manatee seeking warmth in winter. We love our neck of the woods here on the Nature Coast.


It is filled with surprises. 


For example, this past week, Mike went out early one morning with the dogs before I was even out of bed. He rushed back inside, calling my name. He had something to show me. I threw a light jacket over my pajamas and followed him to the dock.


“Up there,” he pointed. 


A beautiful owl was perched in the rafters of the roof covering our boat lift. 


“I walked out on the dock and he was perched on that first post,” Mike said. “I walked right past him and didn’t see him! Then he flew up there.” 


We stood there a few minutes staring at the beautiful creature. He stared back.

We didn’t have a clue why an owl, a nocturnal animal, would take refuge on our dock. We wanted to make sure the creature was okay. We called the fish and game commission. 


“He’s probably exhausted,” the man on the end of the line told us. 


The bird wasn’t aggressive. He wasn’t hurting anyone. We told him he was welcome to stay and kept watch on him. He slept through most of the day, but would open one eye whenever we were near.


When night fell, I guess he had regained his strength. The next morning he was gone. 


I hope he marked us on his travel log as a safe and restful retreat. Time will tell.


See why I love the Nature Coast? It's full of more Treasure than anyone could imagine on the Atlantic side; as many interesting flights worth watching as the Space Coast could offer. No wonder my mother has always called this region her favorite part of Florida…never to be Forgotten


And if you read my post in August of 2023….you’ll know that right here in Citrus County is indeed the Gold at the end of the rainbow!


If you missed that post: Here You Go! It’s pretty amazing how a person’s life is so richly connected…when you take the time to look for the treasure.

Click here: Here is our Pot of Gold!


And a couple of pictures from our yard...

Gotta love the blooms in February!

Even the Magnolia is blooming! 



  1. I remember “those” days as my family moved from Kentucky to Florida in 1959. Orange groves, cattle, and lots of open land. Thanks for reawakening some beautiful memories.


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