“Careful,” Hall warns when I stray too close to the water, “you don’t want to get eaten.” Reggie, the wayward alligator who disappeared from Machado Lake a few months ago, might easily swim this way.
“Look,” Hall says. “What if there were no wall there? And instead there was a restaurant complex? You’d need a buffer around here for adequate flood protection — the houses that are already here get flooded out — but just imagine. It could be a real draw.”
(Illustrations by Erik Sandberg, photos by Caludio Cambon)
At the edge of the water, we stand scanning the water. I look for red-winged blackbirds; Hall listens. “There are frogs here,” she says. “I think I’ve heard two kinds.” I move down the concrete plank to the water’s edge, hoping to better hear the sounds. Planes buzz overhead, on their way to various airports. Random birds twitter.
“It’s weird here,” I confess. “It doesn’t seem to make sense.”
“It is weird,” Hall says sympathetically. “But it’s also kind of cool.”
A water bird with a rust-colored chest, a black crown and speckled black wings alights in the reeds. Time passes. We stand quietly, among the trash and oil rigs, listening for frogs.