I read a lot of news each week. A lot. And a huge chunk of the news I consume is — as you might imagine — about Nature, outdoor fun and our environment.
One story about our National Parks broke this week and I have to say it was nothing like most of the ones I routinely read. It was shocking. It was sad. And it took place here in South Florida, in the State where I live, work and play.
A couple visiting Everglades National Park were in the middle of an explosive domestic fight that resulted in a call being made to Park Rangers. When Rangers responded, the husband jumped into his car and sped away.
The Rangers and elements of the Miami-Dade PD who had also been called soon realized that the agitated park-goer, Drew Sikes, was armed with an AK-47 and did not want to end up in the back of a patrol car.
Mr. Sikes ditched his vehicle and ran into the woods. He did surrender about an hour and a half after fleeing into the bowels of the Park but not before firing multiple rounds in the direction of the Rangers and Officers who were working on getting him out of the woods and into custody.
In the end, no one was seriously harmed. Not physically. My heart goes out to the spouse who had to endure the abuse, embarrassment and humiliation that inevitably come in the wake of domestic violence.
The feelings and reactions of those who were present in the Park that day — or those of us who merely read or heard the story later — are of no great importance compared to her’s, the object of the offender’s unchecked rage.
But as far as recounting my own personal reaction to this sad story, I will say that it came as a bit of a shock. In the hundreds of times I’ve gone to a park or other green, natural space to enjoy the wonders of Nature, I would never have imagined that such a scene could erupt.
When I reflect on that, my reaction seems more than a little naive. Domestic violence — like any of life’s thousands of tragedies — can and will erupt at any time and in any setting.
Yes, even in a place where I — and many millions of us — go regularly to escape the drudgery, mundanity or tragedy we experience all too often in our day-to-day lives.
Even so, we can be sure that there is much beauty, serenity and healing to be found in the Natural World when we open ourselves to it, when we seek it out.
May you seek it out. And may you find it.
Your Nature loving fellow-seeker, I am,
“Bulldog Ben” Basile
© 2021 Ben Lawrence Basile