Esteban and I spent the last week in Florida, visiting my folks. We had a wonderful time and came home with lots of great memories. And what a treat it was to not need socks (or gloves or boots or coats or hats or scarves)!
It was a treat also to walk with my parents almost every morning, especially along the beach.
They were patient with my stopping every few steps to point out flowers, like these morning glories …
… or insects — such as the spiny orb weavers, which are presumably named after their spiky shells and round webs.
To the casual visitor it might seem like the tropics don’t have seasons. But if you look closely, you’ll find a rhythm here too.
For example, last week I saw only one golden orb weaver. And instead of being a weathered gray-olive, this time the sea grapes were stained red and brilliant yellow.
But if I had to choose a single theme for the past week, I’d say “dragonflies.” They were everywhere — in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
The delicate iridescent blue ones were my favorites …
… although this giant greenish one also made a nice addition to the painting in our hotel.
A couple of mornings I got up extra-early to explore the neighborhood.
That’s how I discovered that 6:30 a.m. is the time to walk your dog (probably because by 7 a.m. it’s too hot).
I also discovered that Florida squirrels are about 40% smaller, skinnier, and more curious than their Minnesota cousins.
Demolitions happen faster too: This house disappeared in just three days.
Nearby there was an outdoor living room, complete with a waterproof Bible. (Yes, the interior pages were printed on plastic. I checked.)
In spite of all the interesting sights, I did miss the little apartment Esteban and I used to rent by the beach. This time we managed only one evening walk along the ocean.
But with all the terrible trash we encountered maybe it’s just as well. It breaks my heart how careless people can be, as if humans are not part of nature.
On our last morning I did find a little lake, though, where I stopped to watch the sunrise. It was glorious.
Alas, it seems like a lifetime ago already. If not for the photos, you could convince me it was all a dream.
But at least it was a good dream, even with all the bugs.