I was doing some spontaneous exploring locally today on my way back from a certain nearby coffee shop and decided to stop in at Glenwood Park in Cinco Bayou. It’s a small neighborhood park tucked discreetly out of the way unless you know where to find it. It has a small parking lot near the trailhead and a boardwalk that allows visitors to take a stroll alongside a small creek and seasonal wetlands.
My initial impressions of taking a walk through a quaint nature setting were offset by the amount of trash I saw strewn everywhere; discarded soda bottles, plastic bags and potato chip bags were disturbingly abundant. I tried to focus on the numerous birds flitting through the trees and how they seemed to drown out the sound of traffic from nearby roadways. Minnows darted hither and yon in the creek and as I got to the end of the boardwalk I was rewarded with one of those rare moments in nature.
Just at the end of the boardwalk was a mother raccoon with a very young baby. It squeaked and snuffled and peered at its surroundings with much curiosity. I pulled out my phone as quietly as I could and started taking pictures. Mother raccoon saw me and moved several feet backwards into the brush as if to flee, but the baby waddled closer as if trying to see me better. I talked softly to it and was rewarded with a couple of good photos of it.
A couple of minutes into our encounter the baby started to get nervous and cried out for its mother. She crept back and picked him up by the scruff of the neck and gave me a cautious stare. Then, almost as if the little one was saying “bye” he stuck up a paw. Mother scooted off several more feet and tucked the baby into a pile of brush and kept a steady eye on me. It was then that a second baby raccoon started mewling, surprising me because I hadn’t known it was there.
Mother strolled back, taking a different route through more undergrowth and gathered the second baby up to deposit it with the first. I quietly withdrew, thanking the three for letting me witness a tiny bit of their day, and made my way back to the parking lot. I sacrificed a bit of blood to a few mosquitoes but I figure it was a small price to pay for such a wonderful moment.
Glenwood Park is located on Opp Blvd off of Yacht Club Dr in Cinco Bayou, Fl. Park hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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