The Florida Keys – Truly a magical place

It is 77 degrees here in the Florida Keys right now, and I’m wearing a sweater and jeans.  I think this means I’ve acclimatized!  It’s a summer-weight sweater, and I’m wearing flip flops, but still…. 

There is something about spending more than a week or two in one location.  You start to feel at home.  Locals start to recognize you and acknowledge you as more than just another tourist, you start to know service staff at the places you frequent, and you begin to recognize the telltale signs of those who have newly arrived or are just passing through.  (Here that’s a sunburn and new sandals.)

I have 8 days left in the Florida Keys and I can’t quite imagine being back at home.  Not that I’m trying too hard!  I always try to live in the moment, and I’m doing that now more than ever!

The Keys are really pretty magical.  It’s not for everyone – there’s very little pretense, not much opportunity for heels and lipstick, and it’s hard to find a restaurant open past 10pm.  But you do get the smell of the ocean no matter where you are, sand in your toes even when you’re out for a fancy dinner, flowers in bloom everywhere and wildlife that most people only every see in books, aquariums and zoos. 

It’s a place that celebrates each sunset, and greets each sunrise with a smile.  Where the sound of seagulls is welcome and the noise of rustling palm trees can hamper a conversation.  Where a sign that says “Watch for falling coconuts” isn’t a joke and the phrase “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” can be used at 10am without raising eyebrows. 

I want to tell the world to come visit the Florida Keys, but then again, maybe I’ll keep this place to myself…  I’m off to hide the sunscreen and take down the welcome sign.  Perhaps you’d like Orlando.  I hear you can have breakfast with a princess at Disney….

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Spiders and Birds and Death Marches, Oh My!

I simply cannot get over the beauty and abundance of natural wonder here in the Florida Keys.  On my little Tiki Island where I spend much of my ‘down time’, I am getting to know the resident pelicans, and today they introduced me to their friend the heron!

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I feel like it’s a gift everytime I get to be this close to these incredible creatures.  I don’t suspect that it will, but I hope this sense of wonder doesn’t fade. 

We also spent some time in Long Key State Park today.  Unfortunately it was incredibly hot and there was very little breeze, so by about the half-way point in our nature walk, we felt more like we were on a death march!  Coolest sighting was a Golden Orb Spider, and further research tells me that the zigzag pattern in her web is called ‘stabilimenta’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabilimenta .

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The trail through the park is beautiful, but I definitely recommend bringing lots of water because even though it’s only one mile long, it can really deplete your resources on hot day!

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And then I ended my day with a glorious sunset…..

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Death march aside, it was another spectacular day in the Keys!