Beach and Consequences

Looking east
The weather radar map looked clear first thing this morning, so I donned walking attire and headed for the beach, on foot, before dawn.  The beach was practically devoid of human beings, although I could see a few in the distance.  Sea squirts, on the other hand, were littering the beach all along the mean high tide line.  Recent weather and tidal conditions had washed them ashore. Shore birds were busily cleaning them up.  But until the birds finish their work, the beach smells a little funky.

My usual walk takes me through Gulf Shores and out to the beach, then eastward on the beach to a point just beyond my friend Judy B.'s house (with the thatched roof).  Then I turn around and head back home via the Gulf Pines beach path.  The big loop takes about an hour to complete, at  moderately brisk pace, with a couple pauses for photographing.

Looking west
All of Sanibel's beaches are beautiful; but my favorites have always been the west end beaches. "West end" is generally defined as west of Tarpon Bay Road, although some would argue it means west of Rabbit Road.  My visits to Sanibel in the early years (1980s) involved staying on the east end, but riding a bicycle to the west end to go to the beach at Bowman's -- a county park operated by the City of Sanibel.

Back then, I'd pack a sandwich and a can of beer, wrapped in aluminum foil, and spend the entire day on the beach, sunning.

I no longer sit in the sun.  I walk when I'm on the beach, and when I'm at the pool, I'm swimming -- for a solid hour.  This is a time of constant movement, but also a time of meditation.

The photos tell the story; we're way out there, thirteen miles out in the Gulf of Mexico because Sanibel is an unusual east-west barrier island (instead of the typical north-south orientation).  We're way out there, in the swamp, with only very limited development around us.  And that's the way we like it.

There are consequences of choosing to live way out there.  Late in the afternoon, for example, I discovered that our super-duper garbage disposal had given up, succumbing to rust even though it is supposedly stainless steel, exactly one year after its super-duper 7-year warranty ended.  To replace it, we have to drive over an hour round trip (either Lowes or Home Depot).

I'm not angry with Emerson/Insinkerator; every type of appliance takes a beating in this salt-air subtropical climate.  I just cleaned up the leaked water, Tom tried to re-seat the disposal, and when that failed, we ate a hurried dinner of divine leftovers from Doc Ford's and drove to Fort Myers.

After dark at this time of year in south Florida, you can shop practically alone in the big box stores like this.  What a difference a few months will make!  I cherish the peace and quiet of hurricane season.

The bamboo blinds on the screened porch had to be replaced as well; nothing lasts very long outside of the air conditioning.  The porch is important to us, so the blinds were near the top of the home improvement store list, right after garbage disposal, and before orchids.

The porch is always a wonderful place to be, but it is an especially favorite place to sit and talk after dinner, as the daylight gives way to dusk.  When we're not talking, we hear the occasional squawking of night herons and such.  Then when dusk is giving way to darkness, we watch the silhouetted  frogs leap from our roof's gutter into the cabbage palms.  Who needs TV when you can watch this action?

My favorite excitement to watch from the porch is a thunderstorm.  But we haven't had enough thunderstorms this year.  The water levels are too low for Autumn, leading us to hope for an unusually wet winter.  Sorry, tourists.
Sunset afterglow from the causeway, as we returned home last night.


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