Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ocean time

Tomorrow is out last full day in Florida.  I had really wanted to see dolphins. manatees and alligators during our trip but instead I was getting the low level: Florida-is-so -developed-I can't-feel-the-nature-depression this morning.  I was freaked out by so much development and so much of it so similar.  Harry Potter World sort of did me in, too.

This morning I was a grump.  I had forgotten it was Valentine's Day, Rob and my 23rd anniversary. (we were planning on celebrating when we got home)

We drove to the beach, past Paneras and gas stations and 5 lane roads and finally made it to the causeway over the water where we looked out the window to see dolphins.  Hooray!  Lauren (Rob's lovely sister who we are visiting) told us to keep an eye out for dolphins when we went over the bridge and there they were!  Their sweet fins on their round swimming bodies, breaching and disappearing, then coming to the surface again.  So exciting. Lily and I were on the lucky side of the car, so we got a good view of them swimming.  Georgia felt persecuted on her side of the car where all she could see was a cement guardrail.

We got to the beach and all the grumpiness blew away.  How wonderful to be there on a cloudy day with sand pocked by raindrops and the beautiful crashing waves.  All of our moods were transformed instantly, although Rob wasn't really grumpy, but the girls had been fighting in the car and we had been threatening to leave them home next vacation!  Mean!  But stop fighting!
Hear the soothing sounds of the waves.

So many birds, pelicans and terns, even some beautiful orange beaked oyster catchers. Georgia chased the sandpipers until she got a cramp in her side and Lily and Rob played with a found beach ball.  My shin is killing me, but I kneeled in the sand and just looked out at the ocean.  I felt so much better.

There was this beautiful find of two trees growing together, which seemed fitting for Valentine's day.

We ate a wonderful lunch at this marvelous Cuban restaurant that got very good and well-deserved reviews on YELP.   It was friendly, tropical and original.  By fantastic benevolent coincidence the Cuban place was near a park where manatee where often sighted.  We ordered our Cuban coffee, yellow rice, banana and pineapple milkshakes, pollo asada and fried plantains and Cuban sandwich and then went to look for manatees.  It was rainy and cold and we were hungry.  It was a little canal in the middle of town where there were many large goofy pelicans dropping into the water after fish.  I really wanted to see a manatee so I tried Martha Beck's technique of calling in the animals.  Actually I couldn't' remember her technique and Lily wouldn't handover the kindle before we left the apartment to let me read that chapter so I just winged it.

Banana and Pineapple milkshakes!
There was a man eating his lunch on one of the benches.  I asked if he's seen any manatees and he said, "Usually they're here.  Dolphins, too.  That's why we eat our lunch here everyday."  He had a DPW truck.  He hadn't seen any yet that day.  We waited and paced and hoped, but didn't see anything and didn't want our food to get cold.

We ate our lunch and I had a second cafe con leche and then we went back.  Now it was raining and cold. Rob bailed and said he'd wait inthe car.  Lily bailed.  It was really cold.  It was getting close to time to leave.  I don't want to be stubborn and crazy, but I really wanted to be near a manatee.  I used Martha's tricks.  I tried to feel the space between my eyes. I let my brain expand.  I imagined a web of energy and existance where we were all connected and I dropped into a quiet level, but Georgia was with me, freezing and very very chatty, so I kept coming in and out.  Finally I let the bright clear warm feeling rise in my chest. love, welcoming joy and connection rising up pulsing in my chest.  I looked around and there were raindrops and fish jumping and beautiful gregarious pelicans around, but no dolphins and no manatees, but by then I didn't really care because I felt so joyful.

Then I saw something under the water, all I could imagine it could be was a mangled chicken or bird moving under the water toward us, quickly.  I didn't want to point it out the Georgia because I thought it was a dead bird, but then it came right up to us and what I had seen moving towards us was the propeller scars on the top of a manatee.  There was a Manatee! A fucking Manatee was right below us in the water.  It worked!1 It came!! Ackkk!! I could feel it's peaceful slow energy right there with us.  It was big and had a big broad tail and big eyes and a sweet snout.  I grabbed Georgia and said.  "It's there !  It's there!! Stay here.  I'll go get Lily."  But she said, "NO!  I'm too scared I'll go get Lily!"  I took 2 photos while it was right there in the shallow water.  It's little snout came up for air and it went back down.  Rob and Lily came running out to see and got to see it's massive body and large fan like tail!  It slowly swam away.  It all happened so quickly.  I tried to follow it under the bridge and got my feet in the water.  It was so warm.  No wonder they liked it here.  I didn't see it again and it was pouring rain so we all headed to the car to warm up.

Hello Manatee!

Back at the apartment we told Grammen of our adventure!

And were greeted by a blooming Hibiscus outside the apartment.

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