Sunday, March 31, 2019

West Summerland Key

The old Bahia Honda bridge near  seven in the morning.
 The promise of another excellent Spring day, sunshine, cool breezes, a touch of winter.
 I was actually cold with a strong north wind and temperatures below 70 degrees.
 A few dawn pictures for a Sunday. 
 No commentary needed. 
 Rather like the last minute of CBS Sunday Morning, a few nature scenes to end the news show.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sunrise Mangroves

The early season switch to daylight saving time puts me in the mangroves in time to see the whole sunrise event. from the barely perceptible lighter skies in the east to the full golden glow of daylight.
 Rusty trots off ahead on the lonely empty stretch of road and I totter after him, stiff from a night spent sitting at my desk at work. The goal is to limber up before I go to bed, and to walk without rolling like a drunken sailor. 
 Every day, and every way I'm getting better and better. So when I pause in my exercise routine I check the sunrise through the branches and the camera allows me stitch a lace doily in the shadows.
I enjoy the challenge of seeing fresh things every day wherever we might be, as I drive us in an arc of different walks within 20 minutes of home roughly. Carrying my Lumix FZ300 forces me to look and observe and see things that otherwise I probably wouldn't notice. Plus i have a few filters to play with, giving the sun a star burst was the choice of the day:
 Besides which we are not entirely alone, and Rusty handles traffic perfectly, stepping aside when he hears a car and watching it go by from the edge of the bushes. He's getting used to silent bicycles too.
 The moon, oddly taken when not full:
 The sun around which I managed to convince the camera to put a halo, just for fun:
After I sleep the rest of the morning away I take a cup of tea to the deck where Rusty likes to hang out shifting between sun and shade and air conditioning, coming and going as he pleases through his dog door.
 Or sometimes just being weird:

Friday, March 29, 2019

New Beginnings

I have been working out at the Body Zone gym in Overseas Market for a couple of months. Indeed when I started here I was riding my rented electric scooter and crossing my right leg, the broken one, over my left knee required me using a strap to support my weaker limb. I have made progress since then as you might imagine. Which is not surprising considering my regimen of two physical therapy visits per week alternating with three periods at the gym each week combined with daily walks with Rusty. I'd better be getting stronger!
Dean Walters known around town as a musician, conductor and public relations specialist also wears the mantle of a nutrition advisor and exercise guru for the elderly. I am sixty one so I qualify, aside from my injuries, for his classes which are offered under his "Aging Boldly" program at Body Zone. We may be aging, and some are much older than I, but Dean doesn't hold back and 90 minutes in his tender care leaves this senior panting. However I keep going back not least because the crowd in the class is welcoming and funny, but also because they take their lead from Dean, a man endowed with a dry literal sense of humor that tickles my funny bone. He is  also very good at  leading us in a variety of ever changing devilish exercises. His mantra: If it hurts don't do it. I like him very much:
Dean is good for me as he understands my difficulties as he has also suffered assorted leg surgeries which left him in great difficulty for several years.  So when I showed up with a barely functioning leg and no ability to get off the floor he showed me lots of useful tricks and techniques to manage. I used to be very strong and it has taken time for me to start to feel reasonably composed once again. I walk with a slightly weird gait, and I'm not yet strong but I am on the way back and Broga at another gym will soon become part of my weekly routine once again, as soon as I am strong enough. 
Last Tuesday Dean ended the 90 minute class five minutes early (Yay! pant pant) an announced he will be leaving Key West in a few weeks, after 27 years to pursue training prospects in mainland Florida. Good manners require one to be delighted for his ambition and his prospects helping a gym to grow in Ft Myers, but inside, from a selfish point of view I was crushed. Classes at Body Zone will continue into the summer under new instructors I'm told but a large art of this class is built around Dean's exuberant and eccentric personality. He is our age, he knows our physical issues and he  makes our struggles buoyant and funny and in some strange way an intimate reflection of each of us.
I feel silly to be so cut up about Dean's good news not least because change is a constant in this town. I took the photo below in 2014  when Dean was conducting an outdoor performance of the Keys Chorale at the Community College, a memorable and enjoyable evening out. And now I am taking exercise classes from this versatile man who will be gone soon. Time marches on.
I enjoy exercising but only as a way to get stronger, not as a lifestyle nor for the pure pleasure of repetitive boring body movements. My Physical Therapy (below) is a twice a week class with a woman I consider a bright spark in my life, and I look forward to spending an hour with Teresa practicing my balancing, sweating as I stretch my tendons and learning to get off the floor as efficiently as possible.  She doesn't seem like she is going anywhere but in this town you never know...
It is I suppose a good thing to be ready for everything to change on a moment's notice but it is also annoying and exhausting. Getting used to the unexpected takes a bit of...getting used to!
The good news is if you meet someone annoying or irritating you can most likely out wait them and sooner or later the change thing will work in your favor! I have started to ditch my walker and my wheelchair is a distant (bad) memory but I have to consciously remind myself how far I have come since those days last winter. Change is a very good thing sometimes.Not only am I able to walk a bit without a  cane I am also wearing shoes nowadays. My swollen feet only allowed for slippers for the longest time and I hated not being able to wear proper footwear.
I ponder these awkward thoughts about change and constant variations in the early morning as I walk Rusty, not so much on trails which are still hard for me to balance on, but along empty back roads. My walker is in the trunk just in case Im having a bad leg day but I'm trying to complete a measured mile without sitting or  stopping. So far I've done eight tenths of a mile and get back to the car each time breathless. That's how weak I still am. 
I think part of my discomfort at Dean's departure which really is an affirmation of his program, is because I am not a great exercise fiend and to work with Dean in Body Zone or the even more eccentric Sean in Broga is to feel as though I am being mentored by leaders. I am not self motivated, but they give me the drive to show up. I feel like this is a flaw I need to work out and Dean's departure has highlighted this. I need to be able to keep on keeping on no matter who is at the front of the room, no matter how weak my legs feel that day.
Coming out of the gym in the early afternoon, sweaty and tired, the electric  cart for the lesser abled at Publix looks real good to me. I put my cane in the basket and toddle off under power to do my shopping.Part of the problem of severe bone breakage is the repair time is log and it sucks the energy out of you. Never again will I be able to watch a Western where our hero takes a slug to the shoulder and he pauses to put a  bandana around it and carries on fighting for justice. I call bullshit on that scenario. Or perhaps I am just made of weaker stuff. I need a physical therapist, pain killers and  a loving wife to coddle me after breaking my body. I'd never have hacked it on the Wild Frontier. Electric shopping carts indeed!
I keep pounding the exercise routines, learning to balance on my weak right leg,wondering what comes next. More of the same I suppose whoever is running things in whichever gym I happen to be. My goal is to be walking normally and getting stronger by the end of hurricane season. So there.
There it is: anther  change in my life which to me translates into a broader annoyance at what a transient community this can be! It is neither good nor bad necessarily, it just is. And expecting life in the Keys to be stable is a lot to expect in a  community that lacks a lot of the stabilizing structures of more established communities Up North.
Housing is absurdly expensive especially compared to salaries and the whole bar scene, drinking and fishing lifestyle doesn't transmit a sense of seriousness or purpose to visitors who come ion vacation and think they might like living here. My wife noticed we were viewed as temporary visitors despite our jobs until we moved off our boat and into a house on land. That gave friends the sense we mihght be worth investing some time on, that we might be staying awhile. Indeed twenty years later here we are. watching others pack up and leave...

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Three In The Morning

Standing in the parking lot in front of Half Shell Raw Bar looking toward Caroline Street.
 My lunch break in the early morning puts me downtown when no one is around.
 All I'm missing is Rusty.
 During the day this place is packed with people buying coffee.
Like this:
 Around the side of the building is their  trademark mural readily recognized everywhere.
 Less obvious was a corner of the Waterfront Brewery, painted colors contrasting with natural shades.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


 A few pictures from a  lunch break spent walking and thinking last night. All made easier by the completion of the cold front and  a return to normal warm humidity.