I wasn’t trying to keep our vacation a secret. I intended to post the story as it unfolded, but limited Internet access foiled my plan.Before I left, I managed to schedule a Make-Do Mondays. Other than that, I was only able to compose that short Food on Fridays on Thursday night, right after we ate the meal I photographed. We found a spot on our way back to the campground where someone had Wi-Fi. The Belgian Wonder parked the car, and I quickly published the post.I hope that you’ll forgive last week’s unintended silence.When we arrived at Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida panhandle, we backed the trailer onto some boards to level it. One of the girls remarked, “Wow, our tire is in bad shape!”I looked at the metal part of the wheel that was covered with black gunk and thought she was commenting on its appearance. I just said “It sure is dirty” and carried on with camp set-up. At some point, I noticed what she was really talking about.The rubber tread was torn off and bare tire exposed. Here’s a photo after the Belgian Wonder took it off and put on the spare.How long it ran like this, we don’t know.We took turns getting low enough to see, then looked up at each other with wide eyes, marveling that it rolled us some unknown distance down the freeway and into the campground without incident.Traveling mercies.Thank You, Lord.On the path to the bathhouse, I marveled at the very un-midwestern plants and trees, like the palms and scraggly trees winding up from the sandy soil.Here’s a different section and time of day:In the Florida state parks, natural growth is raw, unplanned, forcing life from unfriendly soil. This path hardly compares with the well-manicured lawns of nearby resorts, which are beautiful in an organized, well-watered way. As far as I know, this little woods has made its own decisions, forged its own relationships between trees and undergrowth, and sprouted from seeds blown about by the strong Gulf winds.And I love it.The bath house by the beach posted a hand-painted sign illustrating some of the flowers one might find near or on the dunes.I studied it for a few moments one afternoon and was pretty sure I’d seen in the woods by the campsite the one with the sweetest name, “Tread-Softly.”So I resolved to snap some pictures when I got back.The leaves are slightly different from the painted version, but I think it’s Tread-Softly, just a few steps from our campsite.We camped with my brother and his family. As my brother tore down the tent on the last day, he called us over to admire this little guy:I resisted our departure. The Belgian Wonder pitied my melancholy and allowed us to linger much longer than we should have.Eventually, however, we had to hitch the camper to the van and drive away, leaving behind the saltwater, the dunes, the grasses and tree frog. We couldn’t walk the winding path any longer. We had to leave Tread-Softly and the willowy tree branches.And no more fresh seafood.The Belgian Wonder drove us up to the beach one last time so that our youngest, The Boy, could release back into the ocean some clam-like creatures that burrow in the wet sand by the water’s foamy edge. He’d collected them in a plastic cup.I was able to gaze one last time on the wind-formed dunes.I never know when I’ll get to see it all again. Some years we can’t work it into our budget or schedule, so I say farewell as if to a friend, hoping to see her again before too long; but knowing it will probably be at least a year.After snapping those photos of the dunes, I turned to the Belgian Wonder with a heavy sigh. He apologized for putting the van into drive and heading north, back to our land-locked state in the midwest.