Thursday, October 20, 2011

Southernmost All Hallow's Eve

It can take you by surprise how connected the Florida Keys are to the rest of the US. Much is made of the fact that Havana is
closer to Key West than Key West is to Miami.


But in terms of cultural affiliation there is no doubt which side of the divide, the Straits of Florida, these islands find themselves.


There are some differences though between mainland Florida, land of bizarre superstition and the Keys, home to a deep seated desire to celebrate every and any festival of any or no culture at all.


In Lee County schools the cult of Halloween was forbidden as the parents of the little dears thought it was a representation of Satanism. I kid you not. The pumpkin as evil incarnate. Such stupidity is rampant in the 21st century and it seems to be getting worse.


It's not that I am a fan of getting dressed up in costumes while parading around pretending to be who I am not. But let the little buggers and those adults who enjoy such things do it in peace I say. Whatever else Halloween is, it's not evil, unless by evil you define the subversion of every human emotion to corporate greed. That by my book is closer to the mark for I am sick of every holiday becoming just one more excuse to sell us crap we neither need nor want were it not for advertising.


You remember all those urban myths about razor blades in candy bars? Yup, still rampant. So now kids can't even run loose one night of the year to have fun. I wonder what they would say in Havana if they knew Americans, just 90 miles away, believe their neighborhoods are filled with adults hell bent on hurting innocent children.

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Sublime And Mundane

The mythical Overseas Highway, seen from a certain angle looks pretty mundane to me.


Cheyenne racing a cormorant looked funny. Except she wasn't.


The dock jutting out into the view looked good.


Don't ask as far as I know it's just one more sublime creation of Nature:


The bridge ran out but the powers that be don't want us leaning out over the void.


In the mundane world it is obvious there has been wind here.


Out there the wind has gone and taken the horizon with it.


But lo what light through yonder cloud breaks?


Bloody hell! It's Apollo!


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Storm Birds

Many years ago I was walking a beach near Fort Myers when a woman came striding up to me and started yelling at me that I was disturbing the sand pipers. "The storm was bad enough!" she yelled,"let then rest!" Okay I thought, point taken and I backed up the beach so as not to disturb the little birds.


There are people in the world who identify with and love birds and there are the rest of us who are glad they are there but would no sooner identify with them than we would with the Loch Ness Monster.


I watch the birds, they are everywhere, but I observe from a distance.


They have a particular dignity.


And as we go about our lives at sea level, they go about theirs up above.


And from time to time I spot things other than birds.


I have watched the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead . Then Fred gave me the first comic compendium the TV series is based on. The TV show takes gore to a new and repugnant level but it is compelling.


The comic books are much more absorbing. I read them at night during slow times at work. People in Key West tend not to go out and fight much at night when it's pouring rain, so I sat at my bank of computers and freaked myself out. These birds reminded me of the zombies of The Walking Dead.


Then I saw a cormorant being a cormorant.


And all was well.


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Swimming Labrador

I was walking around the launch ramp enjoying the views.


And playing with my camera of course.


I looked up and my non-swimming Labrador was...swimming?


Yup, all on her own she was paddling away. We made eye contact and I started to walk back to land. Obediently, having made her point she made a one-eighty and swam back.


Ordinarily this is no big deal but my Labrador was never encouraged to swim by her former family, people who did not take her out for rambling walks much either, it would seem.


My Cheyenne is full of surprises. She got a bath and her favorite treat when we got home, a rawhide with a piece of chicken jerky hidden inside.

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Night Floods

The Youth Hostel on South Street looked particularly peaceful last night as all hell was breaking loose around the city, wind and waves everywhere...


The end of Duval Street was nicely flooded, like a rice paddy.


Drains were overwhelmed and water was streaming like a river.


The rest of Duval looking north was less flooded as the street has a higher crown.


But South Street near the Southernmost Point was nicely flooded. A couple of cars braved the water while I was there, to take a look at the point getting swamped periodically by heavy wave action.


Darkness and shiny asphalt.


I tried to photograph the breaking waves but my lunch break was ending and I had neither rubber boots nor the patience to stand in range of the salt spray and get wet before I went back to work.


It was a wild night even after the rain ceased.


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