On the Saturday driving south from Saint Petersburg you continued south of Naples and Fort Myers to Sanibel Island.
Should you consider returning think about these things probably forgot about:
- There is no shade on the beach. No Shade. Bring an umbrella or tent.
- What looks like sand are shells. The entire shoreline is a rock of sea shells. You can walk with you shoes on the shore is so solid.
- The sea shells are the common kind. They are everywhere and it seems that the shells reproduce.
- The sand is white and there is no shade and the water reflects the sun amplifying the light. It is a very bright place to be. Bring the darkest sunglasses you can find.
- The water is very shallow and the sand is fine and muddy. You can walk 40 meters from the shore and still have the water at knee length.
- If you rent a bicycle, then wear a moisture dissipating shirt. You will sweat.
- Don’t expect to find well known restaurants outside of 7-11 and Dairy Queen though there was a pizza and Mexican food restaurant.
There was a ting of, I don’t know, something with the people. Like sand in your food. You don’t see it, but you know it’s there because you can taste it.
Not one picture of the beach. Biked to four beach access points. Entered the water at two. Spent a total of three to four hours in Sanibel Island then left.
I like walking in the street. In the middle and unabashed. Left foot stepping on the striped dividing line; sometimes yellow other times white. Then the right foot. An action to show that I’m wild or going against the grain or not paying attention. A bit of defiance. To publicly show that I think differently. That I am different. To have people follow my lead. They respect me and are curious and while they don’t say anything within them they carry an appreciation of my showing them that they too can walk in the street and be one of the first so others can see them and have others follow their lead until it is those who do not walk in the street that are the few. See this, see me, look at my flexed calves and my funny Birkenstocks. This street; I walk on it. The entire length of it is mine. And I will return one year from today to claim this street again. Remember me.
On the Fourth of July I do walk on the street and over a bridge. Fireworks are lit at 9:05PM. Arriving with an hour until then means parking about a mile away and walking to the beach. East bound traffic is closed.
Some groups of people, it becomes obvious, have been at the beach all day. The crowd thickened the closer to the water so we claim our spot behind the volleyball court while a few clearly non-volleyball players have fun with an grapefruit like under-inflated ball.
More people arrive and claim their viewing places around us including directly in front. The first pop and burst of gun powder like clockwork. The night turned into a masquerade. Shadows moving and exposed by the light – red, green, white, blue, purple. The oil on the skin reflected. At first I noticed the long full hair. Then I noticed the wonderful breasts with the assistance of the helpful light. Plush. As she crossed from the right out in front of me another crackle and burst touched the thin layer of oil on both rear checks; a full reveal. Suddenly the shadow was no more a shadow but blended into the night. I titled my neck to return my sights to the pier and then to the sky.
The fireworks were 3-D. Either the fireworks were so powerful or we were so close to them that each bang and pop and burst rained little paper pieces of the fireworks. The debris landed on in my hair, shirt, and legs.
The mile walk back was more crowded than the same walk an hour before. Reached the car at 10:00pm exactly and had driven well away from the crowd easily without traffic by 10:11pm. Away from the sand, smoke, debris, and skin.
Setting in the west the Sun leaves us in the shadows.
Sun so bright the ocean water and sand are warm.
Where does seaweed come from and how long has it drifted in the ocean before washing ashore? And then where does it go?
This isn’t a typical beach day. It is a Father’s Day. These days make me sad and force me to avoid people more than the usual. The attention is uncomfortable even when shared with an entire country.
And so I drift to the shore like seaweed to be among strangers arriving and those leaving having spent there entire day in sand.
Untiring breeze touches me and calms my thoughts. The sensation of traveling this wind evokes. The high and low static of the waves.
I remember digging troughs in the sand in wait for water to enter and complete my sand castle. The princess inside held captive by an moxie crew of assorted shells.
A typical beach town. Continue north of Jacksonville Beach and experience Atlantic Beach and go a bit further for Neptune Beach. Beach town, cruising, people out walking, everyone wearing sunglasses just enjoying.
Rain, clouds, and wind in that order.
Surprisingly, a stout and possibly happy man with the leftover courage of a new year’s eve raver slopped through waves. Standing, falling, standing, floating. The guy had company.
Five hours north of South Florida is a mud puddle called Jacksonville. An decent one. I’m being harsh. Deep appreciation of well maintained highways sets between the very edges of Indian River county upwards to Jacksonville. Makes you kinda proud. Tall trees along both sides north and south bound lanes. Roads free of junk and clear lane demarcations. Simple functional rest stations. And this being Florida the drive is largely a straight line with the occasional curve and mole hill.
I suck for posting this two months late. It’ll happen again. It’s habitual.
Getting around Jacksonville was super convenient. Slightly exaggerating there is one traffic light every two miles. At least this was the experience shuttling from Southside to Orange Park. Here’s an overly generalized observation: Orange Park is working class perhaps a little slummy while Southside is new construction, shoppes, manicured.
Taking in the northern coast beach and MOCA where my only humble goals of this trip.
Soft white powered sand characterizes the beach. The sand is as hard as a flat surface; hard enough that many early birds ride their bicycles on the beach. So don’t expect to sand castles and getting buried in sand. That is clearly out of the question. Plus there is nearly a football field sized distance between the edge of civilization and the ocean. This open space is the beach. The sunrise was nice and plenty of tourists and locals woke early to be rejuvenated and inspired by it.
Downtown Jacksonville was a let down. Maybe ’cause it was Saturday and downtowns in small mud cities usually empty on weekends. Regardless, downtown seemed a little blighted. Next to MOCA Jacksonville on the same block same attached building is the public library. Across a public center with circular fountain sans green space. Its relatively small. First impression driving on the street separating museum from the public center was the commotion at the library so much so that I initially thought the library was the museum. ‘An active art crowd. Great!’ I thought. It wasn’t the museum. Homeless locals hang out at the library and public center. Well, yeah.
Three of the five floors are exhibition space. The boutique cafe inside was closed. The front desk was very nice. She explained everything and genuinely welcomed me. Head down doing something as I entered she raised with a smile.
Admission sticker on chest and MOCA Jacksonville floor plan in hand she eagerly tells me of her favorite piece since I asked for suggestions. Climbing the stairs to second floor offers nice view of the a Heather Cox Winter 2013 Project in large open exhibition atrium.
Quiet and lonely. Aside from security there was just one other museum patron. Eyes glance down, Mona Lisa frown. While I really enjoy art and museums I can’t say that I can intelligently critique art. My observations are of level of effort and thought the artist takes in creating their art. An appreciation and interest in their time and effort and skill. Hardly do I search for the concept or attempt to calculate their inspiration. In the permanent collection of MOCA Jacksonville are a series of Richard Anuszkiewicz paintings on second floor display. This was the highlight of the visit. That and the cute refreshing girl in the gift shop. Do Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube Richard Anuszkiewicz and then you too can name drop Op art.
Let’s talk about something important. The girl at the gift shop. I would. I didn’t. She gave me a tip of the Black Sheep restaurant in the Riverside neighborhood a few minutes from downtown. Its a trendy artsy areas. I’d live there. Did a drive by and it was packed. Didn’t eat there. With Black Sheep in the review view mirror the red narrow front door of a psycologist’s made me stop and take a picture. Look at my picture.
It changed and I really like it. Nearing 83 degrees and the ocean was slightly chilled. In to get wet. Out to dry. And again. Just lovely.
Have it all to myself. Hard rain ended. Cool and windy. Silent lightning seen afar in vibrant purple lines. Saltwater.
Wet and sandy feet in flip flops. Feels great to be here.