One looks out across the water in this land of no hills, no rivers, no lakes, no great towering forests, no granite cliffs or rolling farmland, and one sees a wide open body of tidal water, rimmed by green mangroves and here and there a little house on stilts. After Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans there was some discussion about rebuilding the Lower Ninth on stilts. It made sense, they said as another flood could easily happen lacking the will to pay for an build proper levees. No, cried the critics, the guardians of New Orleans architecture at all costs. Houses on stilts they moaned, look like cocktail olives on sticks. That's as may be but they work very well in flood prone lands. The tides are quite ferocious between the islands and with a full moon or a new moon (when there is almost no moon at all in the night sky) the waters come and go at speed. One has to wonder what rising sea levels will do to our neighborhoods. Island nations like the Maldives in the Indian Ocean and the islands of the South Pacific Palau, Nauru and Vanuatu are acutely aware of their vulnerable geography. Here in the Keys we are less absorbed by a scientific theory given little credence by our short sighted leaders.
I have adopted the long range position that I will probably be dead before the seas rise that much and in the meantime I will do my best to enjoy and record this moment in these islands relatively brief history of human habitation, and will count myself privileged to have done so.