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Dad and Mom

Dad and Mom

Would you like to meet my mom and dad?  Readers, these are my beloved parents.  Mom and Dad, please meet my readers, many of whom are dear friends. 

My dad is the skipper of the above deck boat, which we were fortunately able to navigate out on the Back Bay late this morning.  The wind has been howling something fierce.  It’s prevented much boating this trip.  Usually we ride the boat down to Parrot Key or Matanzas for lunch.  Parrot Key has the best sweet potato fries. (We went there yesterday, by car rather than boat, and we nibbled some of Dad’s fries, as Mom and I ordered delicious salads instead.)

Off we went today out on the bay today!  I must sadly report, once again, that no dolphins leaped out of the water in perfect curvature for a photo.  One dolphin’s fin did surface, and it may have even leaped, but it quickly and stubbornly slid back into the waters to fish for lunch.  I pleaded, I begged, I appealed to its loving and compassionate nature…but it did not comply.  Some boat trips we’ve been surrounded by the silvery leaping creatures.  Apparently, they’re playing shy this week, at least to us.

Captain Dale (with our condo directly behind the boat)

Captain Dale (with our condo directly behind the boat)

Dad navigated us over to New Pass and Dog Beach.  At first the wind whipped up the waves and rocked the deck boat a little vigorously.  My mom held on to her golf hat, fearing it would fly in the bay.  It began to feel a tiny wee bit chilly.  But as we slowed down to motor under the bridge, the wind abated and felt comfortable again.

Dog Beach.  Anyone with dogs loves this popular destination.  Can you imagine a beach where dogs run free, barking and scurrying and socializing with other dog-folk?  We wanted to get a clear close-up photo for you, but the boat’s depth-finder read “eight feet” and Dad decided to turn back toward deeper waters.  Can you see the dogs frolicking?

Dog Beach (take out your magnifying glasses & view the dogs)

Dog Beach (take out your magnifying glasses & view the dogs)

It proved a little interesting maneuvering the boat back into its slip.  The wind prevented a faultless docking.  But Dad did it!  Mom helped with a long stick-like plastic pole which assisted in guiding and pulling the boat back onto the lift.  I stood around rather helplessly, not much help to these seasoned boaters.  Instead, I took pictures of pretty leaves floating near the dock.

Leaves floating in water near boat

Leaves floating in water near boat

Finally, a promised photo for my daughter.  She begged for a picture of the lanai in the condo.  How many mornings have we sat out on the chairs sipping coffee and eating my mom’s prized “Fruit Bowl” filled with papaya, mango, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, grapes and kiwi? Oh joy!!  We didn’t eat the standard Fruit Bowl this trip, a fact my daughter is lamenting even though she’s up in New York City (because she loves it so much).  Instead we enjoyed honeydew, strawberries, grapes and kiwi.  Delicious!

(I am not 100% sure if the lanai should be included in an outdoor blog.  Are decks and lanais “outdoors”?  Yes, there’s a door you close between the condo and the lanai.  But there are also windows with screens which can be closed, to keep out the wind, sun and temperature.  Anyone have an opinion?)

Lanai in condo looking out over Back Bay where we boated

Lanai in condo looking out over Back Bay where we boated

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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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