Monday, June 22, 2020

Flora


From a couple of recent walks in the wilds I gleaned some pictures of shapes and colors and flowers. No stories, no words, just pictures. I really enjoy following Rusty and spotting contrasts and colors while he sniffs around independent of me and the camera. I don't always have much time but in camera stabilization and a quick eye produce pretty pictures even if they aren't going to set the world on fire and I like to share them.










Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunrise Over Water

Sunrise pictures taken on a  cloudy morning over Key West Bight, known to the salespeople as the Historic Seaport. I don't spend a lot of time trying to tell stories with sunrises and sunsets as people a lot more involved with selling Key West are busy doing that, but these I thought worth sharing.









Saturday, June 20, 2020

Wading

I lost my bearings slightly on a humid overcast evening near  eight o'clock. Rusty and I often take my camera for a walk on the empty back roads where I learned to walk again after my accident. In those days I strode up and down pushing my walker, developing calluses on my hands and sitting down on the walker seat when I went too far and got tired.
I always walked too far, trying to reach the next signpost so when i struggled back to the car I could measure roughly how far I had walked by driving the same distance. Walking here now with legs that need no support is a reminder of how much exercise had to do with my recovery. I have become a bit of a fanatic which isn't surprising as I am pain free and cannot feel the plates and bolt and pins that hold my pelvis together and support my right leg. 
It was thanks to my daily walks and my formal exercise classes and endless physical therapy paid for by my excellent insurance. It was thanks to these miles of empty roads frequented by hardly anyone and certainly not the highway crowds driving a mile away madly fixated on Duval Street, the yellow brick road of their dreams.
Well I thought. My legs work so I had better use them. So I took the plunge and wandered into the tangle of roots and branches and thorns and water. 
The abstraction of light and dark, the warm salt water swirling round my calves, the struggle to focus the camera on the spaces in between. Rusty watched and slipped silently under the bushes to do his own recording of events.
It was a moment of tangled exploration face to face with nature, off the trail looking at all the shapes and colors not seen from the road. I felt like a proper explorer with two strong legs.
We both got back to the road safely. I admit it wasn't a long hike just a few minutes but I thoroughly enjoyed putting my legs to the test. I never even came close to falling over. I hardly got scratched at all and Rusty was looking at me like I was an idiot. Good times are back. I can trust my legs, I think.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Key West Bight

After all these years I still take great pleasure in being out before dawn with dog and camera checking out the shadows and light. 
I combine dog walking and picture taking in a  way that would not be possible without modern image stabilization, and my camera first came on the market in 2014 and yet it is equipped with stabilization I would have died for forty years ago. 
Not only does it make tripods obsolete for a lot of impromptu photography, stabilization gives me a chance to exercise Rusty and record my surroundings as I go. I am not a fan of the "good old days" because in the good old days my wife would be a cripple, I would be dead and photography was very expensive. there were a few other problems in the "good old days" that I'd rather not go into right now as they are causing ferment and unhappiness enough.
Pretty soon Turtle Kraals will become part of the "good old days" as The Boathouse moves in and takes it's place. Upscale is the new Key West and nothing emphasizes that like the disappearance of Turtle Kraals. I wonder who remembers Jabour's Trailer Park where The Marker resides right now? From down at heel to upscale in one  easy generation.
I was walking across the city parking lot in front of Waterfront Brewery and I looked up and saw this, a tree canopy, and I liked it.
I try to find the good in the recent rains even though I am not very good at accepting rain when I want sunshine all the time. However there are puddles with which to spot some decent reflections. Or as decent as I can figure.
I happened to be looking across the water as the sun came up and I got a bunch of sunrise pictures which I thought I might post all together this weekend. 
Rusty's synapses went off track and he decided for the first time ever he wanted to walk down the dock in front of Alonzo's to inspect the boats. I hated saying no but I am an obedient soul when I see a sign saying No. I need to train him to read for himself.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Night Time

Just because the lockdown is over doesn't mean I can't enjoy empty streets in the early hours. With Rusty.
Not necessarily alone but the occasional bicycle at five in the morning will catch me by surprise as I follow Rusty down the sidewalk.
In the overhead illumination I saw an underwater scene by Rick Worth made real on the wall of the Waterfront Brewery:
Buddy Owen's Fish Wagon known as BO's for short, has lived a lifetime on Caroline, a shack of a place, by now a symbol of the gritty Key West sought by visitors seeking authenticity in a  conformist world.
I amuse myself by observing punctuation in signs, especially when they don't have any. Fresh fish: please wear a mask. I guess humans appear  to be exempt?
I read about the great mask debate in other places but the city of key West has required masks inside businesses and social distancing outside. If you don't agree please don't visit. It's a community standard adopted by the city and  majority of residents for everyone's benefit.
The Facebook epidemiologists promoting masks as tools of oppression are the epitome of the need to be cruel that permeates social media. I have given up using Facebook except for family connections and to check the state of the Highway with the handy Sheriff alerts. I like the calm rational approach to life's little problems and the Internet disagrees with my approach.
I have to say there are days when I look back at the road block with enormous ostalgia. The Sheriff tooka  strong stance and proved that the lockdown worked to keep the virus out but that period also saw police incidents drop to near zero. Now that the city has reopened not only are we catching up on abandoned cars and long standing parking violations but drinking, passing out in public, arguments and drunk driving and crashing are all back as though nothing happened.
As crimes go they aren't the sort of brutish nasty violence or cruelty seen in big cities and large populations but on the nuisance level we are firmly headed back to the bad old days of inconsiderate bad neighbors and thoughtless drivers messing things up a bit. I have to say it was expected but the reality is a disappointing reminder of how little we learn in periods of reflection. From a serene low key commute I have seen some hair raising driving as visitors attempt to break all records getting to and from the fabled city of their vacation dreams. And I should note I am not a slow driver as my wife will attest through her own irritation. Yellow lines and dangerous passing zones tell me one thing and tell the day trippers they are a challenge to be overcome. The other morning a white truck was being winched out of the mangroves along a straight clear stretch of highway. How it ended up down there rolled over I cannot for the life of me imagine.
Rusty is a reminder that good things persist through it all, as he waits patiently for me to stop mumbling and fiddling with my apparatus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Cow Key Bridge Repairs

There is one road into Key West and at the moment it is in a somewhat chaotic state as they work to repair it. I happened to be walking by ona  gray rainy day after I left my car in the shop and I thought the dismal weather gave me an opportunity to express some inner feelings about this long drawn out but necessary interruption.
In Key West the confluence of South Roosevelt Boulevard with North Roosevelt Boulevard and US One creates a three way junction at the entrance to the island, thus it is known locally as "The Triangle." For many months he proposal by the state to repair the bridge over Cow Key Channel has provoked quite a bit of consternation. The bridge is about 40 years old and the Florida Department of Transportation said salt water had eroded the bridge enough that it needs extensive repairs. So far so good, and they even got the money to do it, about twenty five million in local currency.
The idea was to start work after the winter tourist season and finish as soon as possible in the Fall or winter of 2020/21...almost a  year's worth of work. In deference to local concerns the state also offered a bonus if the contractors finish early so there is some hope we may see an end to it all around November if we are lucky. That the work began during the lockdown of Highway One gave us one small boost in the middle of a sea of coronavirus bad news: maybe the bridge work would speed up.
As you can imagine the idea of being forced to negotiate a weird bendy route through big orange barrels makes many, perhaps most flatland Florida drivers tremble and the smooth flow of travel across the bridge is decidedly interrupted by drivers fearful of the complexities of managing a steering wheel under adverse circumstances.
I think the job is being managed rather well and traffic flow is as smooth as it can be. They reverse the two lanes depending on the time of day so inbound commuters have two straight lanes in the morning while outbound commuters have two wiggly lanes in the afternoon. I have seen some slow lines but things could be a lot worse. College Road in the left in the picture above is now only accessible to traffic heading towards Key West but if you want to turn left onto the road you have to go to the other end and turn left onto it opposite the Stock Island CVS where a new temporary traffic light has been installed. College Road west entrance only turns toward Key West now:
My idea in purchasing my electric bike was to park on the approaches to the traffic jam and ride into work and arrive fresh and ready to answer phone calls. Breezing past stuck traffic seemed like a good idea and doing it without arriving for a twelve hour shift sweating and wet through seemed even better. So far I needn't have worried. 
While it has been a little inconvenient the undoubted need for repairs has made the annoyance quite easy to bear and I have to say that I'm glad our fragile infrastructure is getting seen to as watching bridges collapse is a profoundly unsettling thing, far more unsettling than dealing with this for a few more months.