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ENVIRONMENT >> ANCIENT SPRINGS

FLOW OF LIFE

SINCE ANCIENT TIMES, FLORIDIANS HAVE CHERISHED FLORIDA’S SPRINGS

Sacred Waters W R ITTEN BY PEGGY M ACDONA LD

Florida’s springs were once thought of as living entities, according to historian and outdoor adventure guide Lars Andersen. Early Floridians likely witnessed the birth of the springs. “At the end of the last ice age, the water table was rising over generations,” Andersen explained. “The natives at some point would have seen the water coming up. It probably happened over centuries for each different spring. What was sacred water to 78 |

OUR TOWN MAGAZINE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

begin with now was flowing over the land. We can only imagine what it must have been like to see that.” The connection between humans and nature is the subject of Andersen’s forthcoming book, which includes an examination of the sacred quality the springs held for the first Floridians. It was very dry approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, when humans first migrated to Florida, which was about three times its current size. Early Floridians evolved with the environment. “They were an intimate part of the creation of the landscape and the ecology of Florida,” Andersen said. “They didn’t arrive at this Eden — they were intimately involved with the formation of the forests,” where the Europeans found them living when they arrived. “The springs were as much a part of them as their extended family. The Calusa believed the soul could be found in three places — in your shadow, the pupil of your eye and your reflection in the water,” Andersen said. This shows the

Profile for Tower Publications

Our Town 2017 JAN-FEB (Gainesville)  

Mind, Body & Soul

Our Town 2017 JAN-FEB (Gainesville)  

Mind, Body & Soul