Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Niles Sunset

Cheyenne was restless once again, utterly uninterested in the reason for my sloth. I have started out on the very long journey of the tale told in four books called The Raj Quartet, a colonial soap opera set in World War Two India by Paul Scott, so my interest was to stay home and curl up in my armchair under my reading light. My dog would have none of it, so off we trudged to find her solace afoot.I had postponed satisfying my dog until well past the last minute, such was my comfort in my armchair with windows and doors open and a fresh evening breeze wafting through the house. Miss Crane had taken down Gandhi's picture in protest at the Mahatma's support of an anti-British uprising, the Quit India Campaign, and in that initial struggle Mr Chaudhuri had lost his life, and Miss Crane her Model T Ford. My Ford Fusion I parked a little way from the Niles Channel Bridge to give Cheyenne an extra distance to walk.In the end of course I had to thank Cheyenne for getting me out of the house on such a perfect evening. The light was hazy, partly the effect of all this weird fog and humidity we have been having between cold fronts. The waters of Niles Channel were as calm as they might be in summer.Cheyenne enjoys getting to visit different spots between Key West and the Seven Mile Bridge and I know when a walk, however unpromising the terrain looks to me, is going to be interesting for her, and therefore a success. That's when she gets her head down, ignores me and starts sniffing everywhere. I don't think she got to hang out and do much sniffing in her previous life because her sniffing has been compared to the sound made by a vacuum cleaner so loud is it, as though she is making up for eight lost years. I have also noticed she is getting abit more sociable around other dogs, though she still barks at me if I get too friendly with them. Cheyenne is a jealous dog and will allow no other dogs before me. While Cheyenne vacuumed I stood around and took pictures.This was supposed to be a quickie walk but my Labrador was not giving up. She had exploration on her mind and we had the entire old Flagler bridge to ourselves. Not an angler in sight. One guy walked off the bridge as we arrived, and he was clutching a rod. At that stage of the evening it looked like rain and he probably had dinner waiting at home. He left the one hundred year old bridge to us. I was glad to take possession of the space.
Cheyenne took off sniffing all those spots where bait must have been set down and in so doing left behind an indelible, and apparently delightful, smell.It was a lovely evening after all the threat of rain was said and done and forgotten. I cannot help but imagine how many legions of people Up North wish they could wander and watch a sunset dressed in shorts. Or how many people were home watching TV instead of being out bothering us.The sky over the Florida Keys was a lovely sight as per usual.I wondered if Fat Albert was grounded for fear of damage from a predicted high wind cold front, but as I watched the blimp it slowly and silently rose into the air, already guarding the southern approaches against surprise attack. The blimp is tethered to the only Air Force base in the Keys, on the northern edge of Cudjoe. One hell of a lovely evening indeed, even if the sound of winter road traffic on the "new" (1982) bridge was loud and continuous.
We stumped out to the end of the bridge, my Labrador and I, pausing at the fence that marked the opening cut in the low old bridge to allow boats up to 40 feet tall to pass under the new, upswept road bridge.And there we were when my cell phone rang. It was my wife calling to say she was on her way home with a meatloaf dinner from Bobalu's on Big Coppitt for us to share. I speeded up the pace, now looking forward to green beans and creamed spinach for dinner, and a glass of wine to wash it down.
Cheyenne's little stroll upon which we embarked to calm the dog became a full fledged exploration of the beauties of a Florida Keys sunset. Easily done.