I am very fond of the book, On The Beach, by Neville Shute that describes the end of the world at the hands of an expanding cloud of nuclear dust. On the other hand I am also fond of just pausing by the beach, sneaking a pause between appointments.Rest Beach is one of my preferred spots for a quick break because it's right there, it's got parking next to Atlantic Boulevard, it has beachfront seating in the form of rather insalubrious tiki huts and from the comfort of the hard wooden benches one can sit and ponder the meaning of life:The nice thing is that there is also stuff to see out on the water, in winter sailboats are traveling Hawk Channel to and from Marathon, cyclists and walkers are enjoying the White Street Pier and the sun sparkles on the water giving it a festive tinsel-like sheen.I feel the need to remind people who don't know, that magnificent beaches are not part of what makes the Keys attractive. Unlike mainland Florida which is a gigantic sandpit that produces incredible arcs of beach, the Keys are more like the Bahamas, lumps of hard limestone rock that don't produce much in the way of sandy beaches. But what there is people do try to enjoy:My wife and I very much enjoy spending our summer afternoons,when she gets home from work and before I leave for my night job, going swimming. Because I live 25 miles out of town I get to keep our little 14 foot skiff on the canal behind our house and its a matter of no effort at all to get out into Newfound Harbor, a wide expanse of protected water, drop the anchor and go for a refreshing swim. However I have to admit I am not fond of swimming in waters cooler than 80 degrees (27C), so the boat comes out of the water in late October usually and goes back in around mid April. Visitors to the islands are less fussy and they go swimming even in February, and some of them manage to get some sunburn on their delicate northern epidermis:Not everyone is so informal. I spotted one gent, nattily dressed, out for an afternoon constitutional, quietly resting at the tiki hut nearest the condos by the beach:That's the great pleasure of the beach, and Key West in general, the whole philosophy of come as you are. I am not really a great fan of beach vacations, all that suntan oiled indolence, the uncomfortable posture for reading, the sand in the crevices, the immobility. However the beach is the place where you can wear a cardigan, or a diaper; the beach is the great leveller:And one has to reflect that I took these pictures on an average afternoon in February, amidst reports of snow ice rain and cold almost everywhere north of here. I can sense winter is crawling towards a gradual close, but in conditions like these winter is no real hardship, even if it is too cold for a swim.I like having the opportunity to ride to work the "long way" round the island, taking South Roosevelt, stopping at Rest Beach on Atlantic Boulevard, and perhaps getting a cafe con leche at Sandys on White Street before reporting for work at the Police Station. It's good to take the time to enjoy the sun, smell the sea air and watch the water for a while.