Friday, December 9, 2011

Cutting And Hacking

I am amazed how Monroe County has the money to get the trees trimmed that threaten electrical wires. I read about how local governments Up North are having trouble maintaining roads and basic infrastructure.

The Florida Keys live in a world where nothing much seems to have changed. Highway One gets paved, next ear the massive overhaul of North Roosevelt Boulevard begins in April and should last nearly three years.

The school district has dreadful budget problems but overall nothing much has changed in these islands. Visitors come and spend money and our facilities get maintained. Things that used to seem normal now get to seem special, like trimming a tree.

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Night Stroll

Waiting patiently for the occupant to come home, I envied the
parcel on the doorstep. My dog kept tugging at the leash and she ignored me when I asked her to act like a box and sit.

There aren't too many street lights in the residential neighborhoods and that helps the Christmas lights stand out.

For all that the aren't too many street lights there are plenty of wires overhead.

Cheyenne is a creature of habit so I carry some food in the car for her in case we get caught out. Passersby by thought she looked cute at her dinner.

I think she looks cute all the time on a Key West street.

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The Edge Of The Cemetery

We were ambling out of Bill Butler Park were Cheyenne and I one evening. We'd met a couple of dogs romping in the urban park which made me realize how lucky my dog is to have all the Lower Keys to play in. Now we were making our slow way back to the car on Margaret Street.

The light was fading over the cemetery but the three quarter moon was still little more than a speck in the darkening sky.

Christmas poinsettias for the dead.

It's an odd notion but the cemetery has become a tourist attraction in and of itself. The original cemetery was on the south shore of the island but it got trashed by a hurricane and the city moved it to the center of the island on what was at the time the periphery of the town. That it is now in the middle of town is a testament to the expansion of the human population of Key West.

The tourist role of the cemetery clashes from time to time with the desires of the relatives of the dead, but as usual anyone with common sense can enjoy the cemetery as a repository of history without trampling the graves and the families that care for them. Some people want the place spiffed up but I quite like air of decay that hangs over the old cement plots.and at dusk the place is more evocative than ever. I was glad Cheyenne was taking a slow walk outside the fence to give me time to enjoy the evening.

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Key West Wildlife

A proud specimen of the wildlife that fosters so many emotions in Key West.

One could call it ironic that the chickens were wandering loose around the wildlife center but they wander pretty much all over town.

I tell people to check the post office on Whitehead Street if they want to see wild chickens but that obviously isn't the only place.

Murals are a common enough sight around town too, but I take pleasure every time I see them decorating some unlikely building, a shop a real estate office or a wildlife center on White Street.

More wildlife lurking.

We are told the street chickens are descendants of fighting chickens brought to Key West by migrating Cubans. As I picture Cubans fleeing their tormented island I am supposed to imagine them crating a few fighting roosters in their chugs as they
prepared to cross the Gulf Stream.

It seems unlikely to me.

I figure chickens just got loose during the depressed years in the 60s when the Navy was pulling out and money was in short supply and blocks were abandoned. The city has come back and the chickens have endured

Nowadays they are protected in Key West though in a tip of the hat to cultures past they may be killed for the pot though it's hard to imagine anyone eating one of these elasticated living rubber chickens

It's a busy life being a Key West street chicken, always looking for something lying on the ground.

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Johnson Street

One can only imagine the restrictions posted by the blank sign, long since faded from view.

This end of Johnson reaches into the Casa Marina district of town, the southwest corner near the hotel of the same name.

This is the upmarket end of a town that is generally high priced by Florida standards.

The walls are high, the trees are mature and and one cannot escape the feeling sometimes of being under observation...

Henry Flagler had the genial idea of creating destinations in sunny Florida so his trains would have passengers to haul to the otherwise under developed Sunshine State.

Up north he threw up palaces along the beaches of the east coast and when, a century ago, the rails finally made the trip to Key West a ferry-free proposition he built the Casa Marina to attract passengers and offer a stopping place for traffic to and from Havana.

This side of Key West was a backwater considering the population was centered on the waterfront and the cemetery delineated the edge of town.

It is no longer a hotel in a field, the Casa Marina. Now it is the neighborhood with the expansive modern homes and yards

Angular and cemented, shapes harkening to the gables of Old Town.

In some way it's a different shade of white here.

Not the picket fence and hibiscus of the warm friendly lanes across town.

Cheyenne's okay with it.

Though she had to work to find interesting smells in the manicured grounds along the sidewalks.

Oops, a moment, of quirk.

Proper sidewalks, cut outs and ramps, all very modern.

Parking versus sidewalks is an issue in Old Town where cars crowd narrow streets.

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My Favorite Hill

The quintessential palm waving in a strong easterly breeze. They say palms got their name from their appearance, fingers spread, waving in the breeze.

Perhaps my imagination is lacking. In any event this turn out just south (and west) of Bahia Honda State Park keeps drawing me back. And I am not alone, though I rarely walk the tide pools and never beach comb.

She apparently shared my disdain for slippery semi-submerged rocks in tide pools. I wasn't sure if she was keeping an eye on her soul mate or simply enjoying the view across the water as I was.

People pull over at the top of the hill, because this is one place to get a view out over the water.

And it's not a developed parking area either. This is the Lower Keys in the raw, gravel pull put, trash can and nothing more. This hill was built to provide a ramp for Flagler's railway up to the Bahia Honda bridge. The first train direct to Key West came through here January 22nd 1912, so as you can imagine they are ramping up events to mark the centenary next month.

These Québécois were picnicking and dreaming of blizzards and ice fishing back home.

The first strong cold front of winter has mowed people down with flu-like symptoms, colds, headaches sore throats and on and on and on.

We in the Keys would not do well at all if we had to go ice fishing and get to work through blizzards.

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