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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Excitement Fills the Air!

It's palpable. That’s Sarah’s excitement, shimmering in the quiet sunrise air while the rest of the house sleeps on, except for the two of us. My little dog-girl is always ready for action and is now staring at a closed bedroom door, the door to the room where her friend Cricket sleeps. When will Cricket get up? When will dog-girls get to go play off their leashes again, as they did yesterday, running in and out of the ocean, intoxicated by freedom? It was Sarah’s big pay-off after a long day in the car.

But I’m excited, too. Sleep overtook me last night after only a few pages of Walter Mosley’s The Long Fall, and this morning sleep fled early. We are on St. George Island! Trudy and I will take another walk on the beach this morning! Meanwhile, as I creep about making coffee and trying not to make noise, since it’s barely seven o’clock and no one else will want to be up for at least an hour, I’m thrilled to get online and find that Jessica from Devonshire has identified the jellyfish I posted yesterday. We’ve never met, but somehow this morning the ocean that separates us seems more like a link, a bond, our (temporarily) common ground. Good morning, Jessica!

On Monday, driving up from Aripeka to Suwannee, we detoured way out off the main highway to Cedar Key for lunch and a walk around town. This little painting and sign in the public library caught my eye and made me smile.

Perhaps the quote is too small to read in the picture. It says, "I have always imagined that paradise would be a kind of library."

I love Hwy. 19 as it goes north from Weeki Wachee, past Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge, up through the “empty quarter” of the Florida Nature Coast, all wild and rough around the edges, but it’s a joy, too, to leave the highway behind and take the smaller state roads that branch out to the Gulf. And then to turn off a state road onto a small county road. Off the edges of the county roads sandy two-tracks beckon. Where do they lead? If not for mortality and the limitations it imposes, I would follow each and every one.

But it was a genuine pleasure to reach our Monday destination, the winter home of Northport friends, and to see redbud in bloom in a vase on their table, as well as all along the road from Old Town out to Suwannee. Good to be with artists and to share thoughts on the life we have all chosen, off the beaten path.

More friends and more joys awaited our arrival on St. George Island on Tuesday.

While David and George took the dogs for some off-leash fun, Trudy and I had a chance to stroll the beach at a snail’s pace, stopping every few steps to pick up shells or wonder what we were looking at, such as yesterday’s jellyfish. Filling my pocket with shells, I couldn’t help noticing and remarking that shells are much lighter than stones and rocks. Back home, a walk on the beach at Peterson Park weighs me down something fierce, but here on the Gulf I could stop and pick up shell after shell, hardly noticing the additional weight.

We also gave plenty of attention to the brave, handsome little shorebirds. These terns are perhaps the handsomest—at least, the most striking.

The drama of light and cloud was the perfect final act to our seaside promenade.


Dawn said...

How wonderful. Water and sand and birds and sunshine and shells. And a library too! Sounds like you had a great day with another one coming up!

P. J. Grath said...

The next day was wonderful, too. I'll get pictures up sooner or later to share its glories, but the short version of the story is that the Big Bend and Panhandle are as good as the rest of the Nature Coast.

Anonymous said...

I can buy the notion of Paradise as a sort of library--especially if it has broadband . . . and allows dogs.

Looking forward to tomorrow's photos--surely one of Sarah and Cricket?

Anonymous said...

I would be as excited as Sarah at the thought of getting onto some of the beaches you have been visiting! It would be wonderful to explore and photograph as you have been doing over the weeks in Florida. At least I have been able to walk along with you and share your experiences.

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, it wouldn't be paradise without dogs! Today, Saturday, there's a picture of Sarah and Cricket relaxing indoors.

Jessica, I'm glad you can stroll my beach vicariously, as I do yours.