BEST PLACE TO STARGAZE (2004)

The Old Trail

About 25 or 30 miles out on the Tamiami Trail there's a swerving turnoff that leads to a T-shaped strip of asphalt to nowhere. It runs parallel to the trail and about three or four city blocks in length, bordered by trees, marsh, and muck. At night especially, it's rare to encounter anyone other than the occasional snake collector or frog gigger, although possums, rabbits, and plenty of other creatures, including an occasional (extremely occasional) bobcat, come out to feed, fight, or facilitate offspring. Here, there is peace. And a stunning over-the-trees view of sunsets followed by utter darkness that allows for spectacular looks at a night sky unencumbered by the ambient light of the city. To be caught here in the middle of a thunderstorm is bliss, and when the stars put on a show (meteor showers and such), there is no better place to watch as you ponder your utter insignificance in the universe.

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