Our mother, Margaret LeGore Fritts (Peg), taught us to love the beauty of nature. And she dearly loved Myakka. We grew up going there, celebrating our birthdays there. We love Myakka too.
Mom was not very ambulatory for many of her later years so she mostly went to Myakka to drive through, with frequent stops to look at the trees or moss or deer, pigs, birds, alligators, clouds, water, flowers…everything that makes Myakka so special. To her, it always felt like coming home.
Over the years, Mom spent a lot of time mentoring people and helping friends at sad or hard times in their lives. Most of that time was spent taking them for drives through Myakka. She said that they often requested it. Mom truly believed that Myakka is a special place that everyone needed to experience. And that is was rewarding to the soul. She appreciated the importance of Myakka's habitats and their biodiversity, but equally reveled in how the light subtly changed over the hammocks as the day grew long. When her husband died and later our brother, Mom said that Myakka was one of the only places she found peace. Visiting her favorite tree, the big Live Oak by the Birdwalk, was a moment of beauty and calmness for her. She called it her "God Tree".
We held Mom’s memorial service at Myakka on April 22nd, 2023 - Earth Day coincidentally and so appropriate! Our sister Adelaide, our spouses and all 7 grandchildren reunited to remember Mom. We gathered around her favorite tree in the late afternoon and spoke about her life. There really was some kind of special feeling in the air.
The weather was lovely, a soft breeze was blowing, the afternoon light softening...It was more than the sum of its parts can describe. There was something kind of magical about being in that spot and I’m pretty sure we all felt it!
- Meg Nelson and Jennifer Graue
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