My dad and Belle, taking a nap on the prairie.
For Keith Stone, the ideal father's day would probably consist of sipping whiskey with me, my mom, and my two brothers by the horseshoe pit, shooting a few rounds from the rifle followed by a midday nap in the hammock, and ending with a hearty steak and potatoes dinner. He's a man's man, a mustache and cowboy boots kind of man, born and raised in rural southwest Virginia. So I'm sure that when I first started running around enthusiastically chasing butterflies with my camera and becoming a frequent visitor at the botanical gardens, he wondered where he went wrong.
Butterfly orchid (Encyclia tampensis)
When I tell my dad, who mows the lawn with a pistol and owns three different chainsaws, that I just went out looking for flowers this weekend, he might wince a little, but should know that out here, it’s totally a "manly" endeavor.
If you can get past the constant discomforts of sweat, bugs, and unyielding heat, then Florida summers are actually pretty nice. Right now in the Everglades orchids of all types are in bloom. These little beauties aren’t hard to find if you know where to look. Exploring for orchids has actually become one of my favorite things to do on the weekends. The ironic thing about these very delicate and sexy flowers is that they thrive in such harsh places. Just to find one in bloom you end up traversing razor sharp grasslands filled with stinging insects until arriving at a cypress slough where you trudge through venomous snake territory and gator infested waters.
I wouldn't go to these lengths had my dad not instilled in me an appreciation for the outdoors, that, and the thick stubborn skin of a country bumpkin.
So, happy Father’s Day! To the dad who always taught us to take advantage of each day and to always take the time to stop and smell the flowers--well, as long as no one else is watching.