Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dog Days Of September

We think of Key West as a palm filled paradise filled with vistas of breeze rippled turquoise waters and greenery overflowing into the streets. Then occasionally reality intrudes and power lines, bent street signs and acres of cement prove the reality to be different.


Somewhat different I suppose because there are actually plenty of sight lines in Key West that meet the Chamber of Commerce criteria. The pile of palm fronds seen below was trimmed from trees as preferred during the height of hurricane season.


They still look full and dignified even though they have been denuded in preparation for the possibility of high winds. Hurricane season is looking good right now forKey West with storms curling up on themselves in the central Atlantic and thus no threat to the Keys. However the hurricane season persists into November so this is the time of year when one keeps a weather eye on the Atlantic basin. And one trims one's vegetation accordingly.


When I was sailing to Key West from California with my two dogs I wondered to myself if this small city would be large enough to hold my very active Labrador and Husky, by now used to roaming all over Central America pretty much at will. I wondered where would I walk them without them getting stir crazy. Silly notion. Everyone has dogs and Cheyenne loves street walking in the city, even in the summer heat. She's not alone.


However even though my furry Labrador loves a good street walk, she does from time to time, need to catch her breath. A hard, cool cement surface works well for her in the shade. While she pants and watches the world go by I play with my camera. In this case I was resting next to Cheyenne on a bench outside Finnegans Wake on Grinnell Street.


These vacation signs are everywhere this time of year. Vacations tend to be less expensive in Key West in September and there is are several reasons for that. summer has gone nowhere and it will remain hot and muggy until the second cold front of the Fall which will come in late October or early November to break the back of summer's heat. The first cold front doesn't normally have the strength to break the grip of summer's heat. Take a vacation and sweat.


Then there is hurricane season and this is the peak, historically speaking. Theft s a chance, albeit a small one, that your vacation may be interrupted by strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, power outages ad evacuation orders. Do not plan a vacation in Cayo Hueso about now unless you are cheerful and adaptable in adverse circumstances. Finally be prepared to see your restaurant choices diminish as everyone and her sister takes off on vacations. Why now? For the above reasons plus the fact that the tourist count is low, also for the same reasons listed above. You have been warned.


I am planning a week Up North to collect a scooter I purchased very similar to the black one pictured above. I'm a little concerned Fall may actually have started around Minneapolis and the ride hole may be cooler than I'd like but that will make my return to the land of endless summer all the sweeter.


Spring cleaning can also be done in Fall in Key West. Rentals are available as the winter season hasn't snagged the spaces for more dollars for fewer months. Some people choose summer to move back to the mainland when the weather Up North isn't so forbidding. Sidewalks are clogged with no longer needed furniture. Cheyenne also enjoys the hunting for unconsidered trifles in the shrubbery. Don't look too closely it's either dead, moldy or otherwise unsavory. She loves her found snacks.


September is the mellow month. Sure there are people drinking on Duval, and off, late at night but traffic is worse during the heat of the day and a city wanderer can catch the play of shadows and sunlight undisturbed in the city's many alleys and lanes. Like Hunt's Lane shown below


The color of the sunlight changes in the Fall in South Florida. Winter sunlight looks whiter and crisper than the softer yellow tones of summer. As the sun sinks lower on the horizon the angles change. Right now sunrise is sometime around 7am and sunset is around 8pm so the days, by tropical standards are still quite long. The closer you get to the equator the more even are the hours of day and night throughout the year.


So, after all these years and all these wanderings through mangrove trails and pinewoods, on beaches and around ruins I find Cheyenne really likes city walking best.


In the end though I think she gets more walks than many dogs, who spend their lonely lives in large or small yards behind fences whence they call out to my Labrador as she lumbers past. She ignores them.


She is in retirement and has eyes only for me.




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