Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Almost Everywhere

This important sign marks the edge of the Navy base at Louisa Street. I rather fancy a tall fence and a quiet Navy base for a neighbor. That would be a Christmas gift I could live with.


I wondered about these red star fish until I remembered the season.


I found more of them. Some people dedicate a great deal of time thinking about what they will do for Christmas in the way of decorations.


Cheyenne found her own eye level decorations with a cat lurking among the mistletoe, which is in fact a plant that won't grow this far south, so the cat was actually hiding behind some conch shells. I didn't let Cheyenne steal any of his food either.


Christmas bunting did less to cheer these walkers up than did texting on their phones.


They sat on the step side by side in companionable silence each staring fixedly at a little screen their thumbs hooking wildly as they communicated not with each other but people far, far away. Perhaps in Bethlehem.


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Whitehead Street

I passed the Southernmost Point packed with people in a crescent like a stadium overlooking the water and moved up a block to find a quiet spot to park the car and loose theHound from Hell. She loves walking the city.


The pineapple is supposed to be a symbol of welcome though for each pineapple you will find on the streets of Key West you will find two screaming signs advising all comers to Keep Off.


A Christmas wreath thought I, but no a sports wreath appears upon closer inspection.


I can summon no allegiance to sports, much easier to live with allegiance to a place.


A squash left over from Thanksgiving creatively turned to good use for Christmas.


Another pineapple inscribed in an impenetrable fence.


A good porch needs to be used often, and i'll bet this one gets lots of use. Not fancy, not large but with two decent rocking chairs that's all it needs.


An angel in the garden. Or is it a fairy?


Like sports the concept of a fraternal organization is rather alien to me. But Key West has plenty of them in all manner of animal forms.


Cheyenne was not ready to stop and shop, she kept going.


Had we needed refreshment there was a convenient bottle of beer wrapped in paper just around the corner from the convenience store.


We just kept walking as a dog walker does.



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The Asthmatic Squirrel

Old Town Chuck is very proud of his 1960-something VW bug.


He managed to drive it in some manner not clearly defined, all the way to my house, which is a quick and mindless thirty minute ride on my Bonneville from his place.


It's a bit like driving an asthmatic squirrel the proud new owner said to me as we pulled into traffic on Highway One, all bearings whirring, all valves driving as hard as they could.


Windows wide open we had lots of fresh air ruffling our hair and making conversation as inaudible and labored as though we were five thousand feet up in a varnished plywood biplane.


"Wha...?" the pilot shouted, leaning perilously toward me as I made some inconsequential remark about our progress. "Damned headwinds," Chuck shouted. "The alignment is a bit off," he added wiggling the wheel alarmingly to illustrate the squirrrel's latest mechanical shortcoming exposed on the long drive to my house.


It felt like we were traveling at the speed, if not of Higg's boson, at least then the speed of light. Not so, said a school bus with great authority. Chuck's manhood was at stake and he pressed his bare foot harder on the accelerator which produced more whirring noises which promised only immediate annihilation.


The bus went smoothly on it's way. We rattled along struggling to reach the double nickel speed limit as we went.


My friends buy car tires and I am required to admire them. This car came from California by truck and now has brand new whitewall tires to permit it to travel on it's own wheels. Lovely I'm sure.


No air conditioning seems like torture to me in summer (I love air conditioning wherever and whenever). Chuck, determined to embrace tropical living at it's most authentic, shrugs. He plans to drive the squirrel maybe 5,000 miles a year mostly around town and do his own maintenance as a self respecting engineer should.


His car also attracts attention, a fatal flaw in my book but he squealed in delight as this photographer swiveled from the ocean view to view the 1965 VW.


It is lovely of course and we all have our memories of our early years making these air cooled People's Cars do our bidding. I took my first honeymoon driving from San Francisco to Glacier National Park driving one of these things and it never gave us a moment's trouble.


Nevertheless as Chuck took his family back home to the safety of Old Town I reflected that I am not an old car driver anymore.


Chuck says, and he's right, that modern cars are designed to become a smoking heap of obsolescence in a dozen years from new. But for a motorcyclist like me a car, as a useful tool needs ease of use, comfort and modern reliability be useful. Heaven help me if I ever get the idea that I can keep an old, but lovely bag of nuts and bolts running like the engineer Chuck can. Hats off everyone!




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Another Useless Beautiful Dawn

I took my dog, not the least bit unwilling, to an easy walking spot, because I could dump her here for her morning walk and while she amused herself I could sit quietly by and hack up a lung without having to walk or make any other effort. That is the effect of this horrid hacking cold that has been circulating. The slighted effort costs breath.


So what does one say, between endless painful coughs about one more perfect winter dawn in the Fabulous Florida Keys?


Watching the sun try to break through thick clouds is at least restful for the placid observer, if not for the sun.


I lived among cliff faces and crashing waves and high surf and I never found that sort of sea front to be particularly meditative or restful.


To be surrounded by reefs is a good thing when storms threaten, but even on ordinary days when winds are light and waves are absent the flat waters please me.


I have been taking advantage of the full moon by sitting out enjoying the night and watching the clouds and moonlight mixing it up.


Heads down walking helps me spot the not frequently noticed and is flower looked detached but was in fact just being brave growing across the rocky trail.


Heads up walking shows off the much more obvious traits of a cloudy sunrise.


Amazing views aren't they? Day after day.


Cheyenne wore herself out running back and forth and we sat together for a while, in silence which is how my Labrador prefers it.


If you come to the Keys for the beaches you are in the wrong place.


This place doesn't just look golden


It's pure gold.


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