In Ghosts of Bliss Bayou, the town of Harmony Springs was founded near a group of natural springs in central Florida. An early inspiration for this setting was a trip my wife and I took in October 2014 to Silver Springs State Park, outside of Ocala, where you can still ride the famous glass-bottom boats.
In Chapter 7 of Bliss Bayou, Abby and Molly take a kayak tour of the headwaters of Harmony Springs. Here are some pictures that closely match Abby’s descriptions.
We paddle against the current, up along the swampy shoreline. Oak and ash trees stick straight up on the banks, eighty or a hundred feet tall.
The water is crystal clear, and I can see the bottom—sand and rock, with underwater grasses waving in the current.
Molly points out a wide fissure marked by tiny bubbles escaping to the surface.
“I think that one is Love Spring,” she says.
Each spring is a vent where water gushes up from the aquifer deep underground.
As we glide down the opposite shoreline, I suddenly suck in my breath. A four-foot alligator is sunning on a dead log.
“They don’t bother you if you don’t bother them,” Molly assures me.