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Although I didn’t see any wild American alligators at Biven’s Arm Nature Park, I did see that The City of Gainesville has finished installing a spiffy new boardwalk and viewing platform.  This is an enormous improvement over the last time I was there, when the rotting platform was closed to the public.

Biven’s Arm Nature Park is not the most exciting park I’ve visited in Florida.  It’s small and its trails tend to be overgrown.  The major trail takes you by the rear of an apartment complex where you can easily see the plastic playground equipment for the complex’s youngest residents.  This is about where the trail narrows into a scribble of a path and where I did my infamous turn-tail last summer, before I had the sense to buy hiking boots.  The narrower the trail became, the more uncomfortable I got, until I rushed back to the sagging boardwalk and waited.

I recall feeling both guilty and relieved.

Biven’s Arm is a poor third or fourth cousin to the La Chua Trail, which is several miles down the road and is home to the best alligator viewing in Northern Florida.  But since I was not equipped to go hiking on Payne’s Prairie and since there were no parking spaces, I turned around and went to Biven’s Arm instead.  There was no one at Biven’s except a woman in a car who was yelling into a cell phone and gesticulating wildly.  She glared at me when I pulled my car right next to hers and she glared at me again when I left, although by this point she seemed to have calmed down and was now only giving the finger to me.

I was hoping that the viewing platform would be thrilling, but it simply turned out to be a nice place to sit in the sun.  There was a new (to me) sign warning about feeding the alligators, but try as I might, I didn’t see any.  There was only this reminder that they walk among us. Even in the absence of alligators, I didn’t see any reason not to just sit there and stare off into space.

It did occur to me that Biven’s Arm Nature Park might be a great place to ponder life’s imponderables.  For instance, why is it that when you are installing a piece of software, the default license-agreement choice is always “No, I do not agree.” Isn’t this unnecessary negativity?  If you are like I am and you whip through installations and never read instructions, then you end up with this default choice and no download. It makes you look like a troublemaker.  I believe that software manufacturers keep an IP address book of such subversives and turn their names over to the government.

Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have the enthusiastic “Yes, I agree” selected, perhaps with an exclamation point for solidarity?  Isn’t that a much more pleasant outlook?

Maybe they think that if they took this positive route, they’d be accused of forcing their agenda.  We can’t all agree on everything.  We might think that Adobe was trying to rob us of our freedom of choice. We haven’t traditionally liked this and we have a long history of rebelling against being told what to do.  Yes!  The negative is the better opfion.

With this thought in my head, I went back to my car and elected to drive out of Biven’s Arm Nature Park through the one-way entrance.

Biven’s Arm Nature Park:  **



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