We don't have cable, and for good reason. The stories you see on the news nowadays are just out of control, don't you think?
Facebook and Twitter inundates us with it all, regardless. Right now, the headlines are filled with sharks and alligators. Some guy in Texas decided to jump into alligator-infested waters last week and – spoiler alert – it didn't go well for him.
I've come face-to-face with alligators on just one occasion in my life, and I can tell you for dang sure that I wouldn't want to swim with them.
It was ten years ago. Nate and I had been dating for six months, and he decided it would be a good idea for me to go out to Florida and meet his aunt and uncle and cousins.
My initial impression of the sunshine state was that these people were obsessed with reptiles. Ironic, because Nate's aunt is actually terrified of the snakes we have here in San Diego. But I digress. Somehow it came up in conversation that people eat frog legs throughout the bayou. In fact, there is an entire festival devoted to frog legs.
Then, Aunt Inger said in passing that we should steer clear of the swamps because alligators are known to lurk in them. WHAT KIND OF INSANITY IS THIS!?! Nate, naturally, thought it would be an awesome idea to take a boat tour to get as close as humanly possible to these swamp alligators. Not shocking, coming from the guy who once went head-on with a moose in Alaska to get the perfect shot.
I give you exhibit A.
As if that wasn't enough, the whole group of us then went on to a place in Orlando called “Gatorland” where we had the pleasure of witnessing alligators wrestling with wranglers and eating whole chickens for lunch. If you're the “up close and personal” sort of nature appreciator, you should totally go to Gatorland.
As for me? I'll continue my nature photography expeditions in my own way.
From a cautiously pessimistic distance.
We’ve been working with 1in100million.com and watching their unique #WorkforceStories. Through their YouTube videos, I’ve been showing my boys a behind-the-scenes look at careers of interesting workers. Their featured worker this month was an alligator wrangler, which tied in perfectly with me preparing the boys for their own first trip to Florida (hopefully happening soon!).
National Guardsman Royce McMullen works as a conservationist at Insta-Gator Ranch and Hatchery in Covington, LA, harvesting eggs and educating the public about these powerful predators. “Be afraid,” he warns. “If you're not afraid, you're out of your mind.” Of course, alligators probably don't seem like quite as much of a challenge after two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just sayin.
If you're trying to teach your children about the wonders of the wild, check out the YouTube video here.
How do you approach the wild dangers of nature? Do you go in head-first like Nate, or show a little more restraint like me?