Florida: A Stillness in the Glades

At the western end of the drought-parched Tamiami Trail, grass fires burned from horizon to horizon, and the sun was nearly blotted out by the bitter brown haze. Smog shrouded Miami, and acrid smoke choked much of the rest of southern Florida. The magnificent Everglades National Park—the timeless, endless "river of grass"—was drying up like a farmer's mudhole in August, and the smallest spark quickly turned into a blaze.

Giant alligators fought for space in the shrinking ponds, or else sought moisture by burrowing into the mud. Schools of bream and bass flopped listlessly in ever shallower hideaways, attracting great...

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