Thursday, November 16, 2006

A New Year in Florida

(Ignore the date, as this was rescued from January 1, 2006)

Just back from a walk on the beach, my own celebration of New Year's morning.

The sun is out and the temperature is climbing. We expect 80 degrees today for the first time in weeks.
The stiff breezes of yesterday have died, and the Atlantic is calm as a lake. As I walked along the edge of the water in a teeshirt and shorts, occasionally dodging waves at my feet, I saw several sea turtles lazing just off shore. They pop their heads up, take a look, don't like what they see, and drop back out of site in a swirl.

Lots of sea gulls and pelicans diving on schools of fish just offshore.

I walk most of the way along the edge of the water so I can see and hear the shore birds skittering along the sand, eating whatever disgusting things they eat. They fit right in with the edge of the water, wherever it moves, and never cease searching.

The beach is pretty clean today, thanks to an offshore breeze for the past few days. The high tide line is marked only by small sea shells sparkling in the early sun.
Only a handful of people were out when I walked, mostly older folks like me, and an jogger now and then. A few lucky grandparents had their little grandchildren with them. There's not a more beautiful sight in the world than a three-year-old enjoying the beach. All the things we tend to avoid (sand, cold water and running full tilt) they do for the sheer joy of it.

No surfers today, so the beach was thinly occupied by a few old folks walking (OFWs), and and handful of others. Only two bikinis in sight at this hour in two miles of beach: one was a not-attractive man in his 50s wearing a disgustingly thin leopard-skin jock strap and reading a dirty magazine. Must be a European tourist.
More typical were condo balcony people. Scattered along this stretch of beach I could see and hear people out on the balconies, winding up breakfast, enjoying their coffee and watching for whales and porpoise. There are probably two dozen high rise condos on this stretch of beach, many of them time shares. Few units showed signs of life. Most were still covered with storm shutters.

It's a mixed blessing, but the fact that so few are here at any given time keeps the beach from being overwhelmed. But, then again, I don't walk in the afternoons anymore because there are so many big condos they block the sun off sections of the beach after 3 p.m.
So I did a bit of thinking.
2005 was not a great year, in my book, and I am glad to look forward to what 2006 brings.
Pat's father does not feel well and his health seems to be failing a bit every day. But then again, he has rallied many times before and he is only 91.
Pat and I are healthy, but miss our home and friends and family. Among our blessings are the way the neighbors here have welcomed us and made us feel as if we belong, at least for a while.
No resolutions, but I have some good intentions.
Eat less. Play more music. Walk more. Write more real letters (and less e-mails).
And try harder to make this world a better place for our children and grandchildren.
Looking at the ocean today I wondered if it will be the same for them when they come here in a few years. I fear the ocean might be walled off for the very rich, and as barren as a desert.

But then again, not if I can help it.

I miss all of you, friends and family, as I knock the sand off my shoes. We look forward to seeing you in 2006, and having time to plot the ways to save the world together.

May you be blessed in the year ahead,

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