Dean M. Chriss
Pa-hay-okee Sunrise, Everglades National Park
(Click image to enlarge)
This image is a different view of a scene I photographed a decade earlier. In it the sun dominates the landscape as a new day begins in the Everglades. South Florida sunrises are among the most impressive to be found anywhere in the world, especially in winter. Morning fog and humid air often filter the sun to the point that it can be viewed with relative comfort as it bumps the horizon. The sun's disc looks huge, like a harvest moon. It is a wondrous sight that does not last long. In a short time the sun becomes a searing point of white-hot light.
The Miccosukee call the place Pa-hay-okee, meaning grassy water. The Everglades once covered about four million acres of South Florida. Today it is perhaps the most endangered ecosystem in the United States. The wading bird population has dropped more than 90 percent from its historic level, and more than 50 endangered species live there, including the Florida Panther. To learn more about this imperiled ecosystem, I highly recommend reading "The Everglades: River of Grass", by Marjory Stoneman Douglas.