We got settled into our new campground in Apopka, Fl yesterday, after being given 48 hour notice to leave CB Smith county park.
To catch everyone up, we had 3 weeks left on our stay at CB Smith. It truly is our favorite campground, lots of green open spaces, lakes, exercise trails, and more. I love the land and cherish our stays there. I really like that they don’t pack you into close quarters as other campgrounds do. But the introduction of new animals at the park is what made our stay even more magical. We made friends with a beautiful peacock we named Sasha, and two bunnies named Rebecca and Bernadette. While the bunnies wouldn't let us pet them or pick them up, my heart would leap for joy each time they hopped up to me and took a carrot from my hand.
We always knew we be leaving, but didn't worry about the rabbits. Plenty of other campers there to look after them, and lots of grass and plants for them to eat. But never in our wildest dreams could we have known that they would kick all the campers out with 48 hour notice, and that the National Guard would move in and militarize the beautiful land.
The bunnies seemed to sense something was happening. They spent way more time around us than normal. We grew concerned as we saw the park emptying out. Less cars and RV's meant less safe places for the rabbits to hide from hawks and other predators. They suddenly appeared very vulnerable to me.
They were under the car when we finally had to leave. They normally run whenever we get into the car and start the engine, but this time they wouldn't leave. I had to get a stick to scare them out, but even then they were resistant. They didn't want us to leave, but didn't want to come with us either.
As we made our exodus from the park, the military presence was already strong, with about 500 uniformed personnel from my guess under tents and manning barricades. I watched as the peacock approached them, hoping to make new friends. And my heart broke to see this magical place turn into something very different. Will they cherish the land as we did? Will they protect the animals as we did?
Like many others, we were set to self quarantine for a few weeks. Forced though it may be, we were looking forward to the quiet space to tune in and nurture our souls. Instead, this week has been a very hectic week of running last minute errands all over South Florida to prepare to leave for the season in 48 hours instead of our planned 3 weeks. But we're in our new temp campground now. Next to an airport, the train tracks, and a busy road, crowded in close to other campers. When does the peaceful downtime begin? I'll admit, I am filled with a sense of grief. But the loud plane over my head drowns it all out.
Written By: Elizabeth DiPace