Pine trees are the mini-van of the tree world. There’s a million of ‘em, and they all look alike.
Pine trees in the Florida woods are the woods, except when the swamp takes over. The woods are where my husband (Sherwood—yes it’s his first name) and I practice stuff: horseback riding, orienteering, GPS coordinate finding, search and rescue searching, community volunteering, and other words that end in ‘ing.’
We ride through swamps and cypress and live oaks and scrub brush and pine trees, lots and many pine trees.
On a recent training day, my husband and I were given the task of finding five points on a compass course while riding horses and staying married. I know I was excited.
Our first challenge was to calculate our horses’ “pace” for one hundred feet. That’s when you count the steps the horse takes in one hundred feet.
What I learned.
It’s easy to lose count in one hundred feet. Sherwood gets a funny look on his face when he’s counting. Tracker, the horse I was riding, is a bully. When your horse tries to kick another horse in the face it’s hard to keep track of the steps they take. It was a beautiful day to be outside.
We were encouraged to find “points of reference” to keep us on track. A point of reference is a stump, lump, or clump of something that DOES NOT MOVE that can serve as a focal point while you’re trying to count and ride a bucking horse.
Fairly early in the course, I asked my partner/husband/teammate, “What focal point are you using?”
And he said (I kid you not), “That pine tree.”
I looked at the scrubby forest of one trillion jumbled pine trees and asked, “Seriously?” There might have been a tone. I confess; team morale took a bit of a hit at that point.
What I learned.
Engineers sometimes struggle with their describing words. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. There are a lot of pine trees in Florida. There’s a learning curve to everything. Dr. Suess was right; some fish are red and some fish are blue, but not pine trees.
Linda (Lost and Found) Zern
***Feet should read yards, but it sure felt like feet.