Snowy egret at the shore

Snowy egret at the shore

When you’re living in a cold northern climate, opening the door and walking outside involves effort.  One must find and pull on the snow pants, the socks, the boots, the coat, the hat, the gloves or mittens, the scarf and sometimes even the neck warmer.  Once outside the cold can pierce you to the core. 

While one can learn to even thrive in cold climates (and perhaps some people thrive naturally) in warm climates the distinction between indoors and outdoors lessens.

One opens the door and walks outside sometimes dozens of times each day when the temperature lingers between 70 and 85.  One can walk outside without shoes!  Sleeveless!  In shorts!  Shirtless!  (Well, some of us can do this publicly without social stigmas, usually the males among us.)

I find the ease between moving indoors and outdoors an incredible luxury.  Perhaps one wouldn’t need a commitment to spend time outdoors each day IF one lived here in southern Florida.  Yet, I know that’s not true either.  In summer, the heat scorches and burns and fries bare feet on pavement.  The heat wilts everyone and everything.  It would take a huge commitment to surrender outdoors to the heat every day.  Once again, it’s all relative.

Morning sparkles on the Back Bay

Morning sparkles on the Back Bay

My mom noticed the glints of sunlight shimmering across the water as we drank our morning coffee on the lanai.  The first rain in weeks had sprinkled the grasses and palm trees and asphalt after we awoke, but soon abated. She sent me scurrying for the camera, down the elevator and outside to capture the diamond-like sparkles.  Effortless.  No pulling on boots.  No bracing for the cold.  Skin met warm air…a certain sense of freedom pervades in this tropical world. 

We hiked out to the beach again, choosing to wear our Teva sandals and wade across the lagoons to the Gulf.  My mom and I admired the birds, especially that beautiful egret above.  Later, looking in the bird book, she said somewhat reverentially, “That was a snowy egret!”  We carefully turned the pages back and forth between egret and snowy egret.  The snowy egret is known for its “golden slippers”. Yes, a snowy egret, indeed.

Long expanse of beach

Long expanse of beach

We waded in the Gulf.  It felt like lukewarm soothing salty bathwater.  Small shells, abandoned by their underwater occupants, littered the sand beneath our feet.  We spoke of possibly shelling down on Lover’s Key sometime this week.

Shells underfoot

Shells underfoot

We sipped a drink at the Holiday Inn before walking home and eating shrimp pasta salad for lunch.  Afternoon:  swimming laps in the pool, cross-ways, head under the water.  Most of the ladies keep their hair dry and coiffed, not wanting to ruin hair-dos with chlorinated water. 

People smile and want to make conversation, but I feel strangely silent and quiet.  Not many thoughts gallop through my mind.  Hands cupping the water, pulling, stroking, feeling the bathwater temperature.  Feeling no separation between water and self, simply the sensations of dissolving boundaries, floating, almost disappearing.

I could get used to this.

By the pool

By the pool

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