Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Short Walk Off A Bridge

Yesterday morning was cloudy and muggy and somewhat unpleasant. Granted it was a change from the recent spell of cold breezy sunlit days, but change isn't always for the better. It was clear to me a cold front was on the way, and so it proved to be.

Cheyenne's early afternoon walk, after I got up, was on the bridge connecting Sugarloaf to Cudjoe as I was on my way to pick up our organic vegetables delivered every other Tuesday by Annie's. Cheyenne as usual went nuts chasing fish smells left behind by eager anglers. I read a magazine and admired the views across steel gray, still waters.

For some reason unknown to me there was a ton of traffic going both directions on Highway One and I wondered if perhaps I had forgotten some event or spectacle going on in town. Other than the James Bond movie at the grossly mismanaged Regal Cinema and the homeless exhibit at the Studios there was nothing going on that I knew or cared much about. Yet people were traveling.

There was no one fishing on the bridge at the start of our walk but half an hour later I could see a couple casting about on the Cudjoe end of the bridge, she cheerful and enthusiastic, he silent and apparently morose, perhaps put off by my pink Crocs. So my happy dog, full of sun baked bait fish ambled by leashed momentarily to prevent her stealing their delicious rank calamari bait. I walked with my eyes averted as I dislike the anglers' habit of leaving their prey to suffocate, flopping hopelessly to death in an empty plastic bucket as impersonal and thoughtless a death as any I could imagine. It takes so little to dispatch a fish quickly and humanely, yet so few fish killers take the time to be merciful.

The only other living creature I saw was a pelican sitting and waiting for all I know for Godot, or perhaps wondering why his ship hadn't come in. Cheyenne adhers to her own rigid policy of ignoring wildlife and in this case she stuck to her pursuit of long dead fish and discarded fish scraps on the pavement. The pelican, eschewing conversation with us, the only other living beings on the bridge took off, in that way birds have, of making you wish you had wings and could change your mode of locomotion so easily and swiftly.

I am one who likes sunshine, and I could live with sunshine every single day and not complain. I like my world to be illuminated in primary colors, shiny green palms, big white puffy clouds, a cerulean sky suits me just fine. All the nonsense people, talk about seasons and brown leaves and trees that look like dead twigs, Nature's winter renewal etc... leaves me cold. Of course I too have to suffer the occasional gray day in the Keys with some weather drama of wind and clouds and rain, which is a refreshment that only goes to prove that daily sunshine is best. Faced with a glowering day like ester day the only thing I could think was that at least it was warmth enough to be in shirtsleeves.

Yet I think I am not alone in preferring sun to heavy cloud cover, at least in these seaside communities where people come to swim and play and be outdoors. I checked the artificial little beach at the Sugarloaf KOA campground and there was not a soul to be seen. Not even a pelican in residence on the beach.

We made off the end of the bridge Cheyenne and I onto Sugaloaf across the Highway from Mangrove Mama's restaurant. Cheyenne checked the gumbo limbo trees and sniffed the grass, a spot where thick grass ears to grow naturally, an unlikely occurrence on limestone rocks like these and I hoped for a pause where I could read and watch the world go by. She was having none of it. She turned, as resolutely as only Cheyenne knows how and started stumping back toward distant Cudjoe Key. By the time we had made it past the middle aged angling couple, Northerners, no doubt judging by their refusal to acknowledge a fellow human met in passing my Labrador was ready to blend her yellow coat into the limestone rock of the heavily trafficked parking area.

I let her lounge for a while until I got completely bored, the newspaper read and my desire to return home overcame my reluctance to twist Cheyenne's arm, as it were. We stopped to pick up the vegetables delivered from the mainland to Cudjoe Key for us and a few of our neighbors, then it was on to home and an afternoon of movies ad exercise and some plant watering in an effort to encourage rain.

As darkness descended last night the rain came on as expected. I stood on the porch and listened to the raindrops bouncing off the palm fronds and a smell of rotting tropical vegetation filled the air as the rain moistened up the ground. The trees shook as the breeze rustled the wetted leaves and I stood and wondered what it would feel like to be standing on a porch watching snow fallen fall, as he season requires. Nothing good came of those thoughts so I hitched my shorts and went indoors to listen to the air conditioner rumble as it sucked the warm damp air out of the house. A good night to read a book on the couch and pretend it was snowing. Pretence is as close as I want to get.

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