Pastel, 9 x 12 inches
My only regret from my life along the Gulf Coast of Florida is that I never saw a Manatee. Friends would report seeing one now and then within minutes of where I lived. All I had to do was drive up to Crystal River or Homosassa Springs at the right time of year. I would have waded into the water to hug one — highly (and rightly) against rules and regulations.
My one pet peeve (and a violently strong one) during those same years was with large speed boats and wave runners. Almost non-existent during the first six years I lived in Sarasota, they became a damned nuisance quickly after being introduced. It wasn't so much that they bothered me with their noise and gasoline but that their riders ripped through the waters without any sense or care about what they destroyed. Alas, the poor, gentle Manatee has been a prime victim.
West Africans believed that the Manatee was once human. They are thought to have evolved from land animals and are more closely related to elephants than any other creature. Another prayer goes out that what's left of the habitat for this magical creature is spared.
Learn more about Manatees. Watch a quick video of a manatee in action.
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