Early Morning Routine
By Tom Virzi
Ever wonder what a typical field day in the Everglades looks like? It starts with silhouetted trees against a pre-dawn sky in the Everglades National Park visitor’s center parking lot, our meeting place to drive together to our field sites out in the marl prairies. The beginning of the field season is always tough for my while I try to adjust to the early morning hours. The 3-hr time difference going from OR to FL + the change to daylight savings time + the earlier wake-up time = loads of fun! Once adjusted to the time it’s well worth it to start the day with views like this.
Next, it’s time to fully wake up on the drive out to the day’s study plot (sometimes on a helicopter flight to a more distant one). My favorite mornings are the ones that start with cool fog blanketing the prairie. We’re out in the field before dawn so that we can be where the birds will start singing as the sun starts to glow red in the fog. On these mornings it’s easy to forget that you are so close to Miami…the Glades are a world removed. In minutes you are soaked through to the skin with dew as you walk through talk prairie grass listening for sparrows singing to signal you’re in the right place. A final moment of calm before the day’s work begins.