It was over 100 degrees when I took this yesterday. The railings on the boardwalk overlooking the marshy fringe of Lake Jackson burned my arms as I leaned to capture this photo of dead trees and scorched grass lining the shimmering lake. This lake disappears every twenty years or so, leaving a scarred grassland in its place on the north side of Tallahassee, but Florida’s most powerful Mississippian chiefdom was based on its shores 500 years ago and this rich ecosystem continues to shape the region. Florida’s prosaic landscapes, far away from its charismatic beaches and springs, have both delighted and baffled humans for thousands of years. It’s difficult to know what to make of scenes like this, but for me they are just home.

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