Friday, April 6, 2018

On the beach

Dunedin, FL – Our time in Florida is drawing to a close. Already several friends have packed up and left the park, heading back up north as spring approaches. It’s the first time we’ve been here this long, and we are seeing what it must be like every year for local Floridians when all the snowbirds go home.

At the clubhouse this past week, the US Postal Service has set up a collection box where departing visitors can leave their non-perishable foods for local food banks, instead of hauling them back home. We are already curtailing our grocery purchase habits in hopes of consuming as much as possible from our cupboards and the fridge before we head out. What’s left, we’ll either bring with us or pass on to the few neighbours and friends who live here full time.

John and Fawn have been busy battening down the hatches of their fifth-wheel trailer which they will leave on site till their return in November. There’s a lot to do to clean it out, seal it and prepare it for the searing summer heat and high humidity. Full time neighbours will tend to their garden plants and keep the patio swept.

We are savouring our visits to Honeymoon Island State Park and its beautiful beach even more than usual, knowing that in a short time thoughts of the beach will have to be put on ice, so to speak. We have gone there dozens of times, just to walk along the shore and enjoy the air, the birds, and the turquoise water. Each time has been different; sometimes it’s crowded with sunbathers and beach umbrellas, and others it’s almost deserted. Even the configuration of the sand changes depending on how intense the latest tide was or whether there was more wind than usual. For many days, we had to almost climb down a sandy wall between the wave-washed shore and the dry sand further back. Then one day, the wall was gone – washed down by a particularly strong tide the day before. It has not reappeared.

The month of March has brought much larger crowds, and lots of children armed with buckets and shovels in bright colours. Our strolls have been more deliberate as we dodge crater-like holes the kids have dug out, or elaborate sand castles. Today there was a handsome turtle molded from damp sand, with its shell covered in pieces of seashells. There were also several colourful kites flying overhead; I kept looking to see who was controlling them and finally realized they’d been tethered to benches once they were well-filled with the steady offshore breeze.

My seashell collection has almost overflowed its paper-bag container. There’s always another shell to pick up – nice colour, different shape, lovely iridescence. None of my shells are very large or unusual, but there’s a nice variety. I will enjoy looking at them when we get home, and remembering our long strolls.

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