from snow to sunshine

yesterday we made the almost eleven hour drive back up from florida.  bottle brush trees, palm trees, live oaks, spanish moss, ignored citrus fruits plopped down on the ground here and there, and lovely sunny days....  missing were the regular thunderstorms and humidity that so vividly stand out in my memories of childhood.  instead we enjoyed an actual spring-like week of florida weather.  high 40s to low 50s at night, low to mid 70s during the day.  cold, said my uncle.  perfect, said we.

we called my uncle's house home (it is a rather grand and rambling lodge style home across from a lake, built by an arizona senator in the twenties and rumored to have been a resting place for ernest hemingway from time to time) and split our time pretty evenly between lazing about his place and visiting my grandmother and aunt a couple towns away.  we were quite keen on tasting the rogue fruits we saw abandoned and/or largely ignored here and there.  first up were these funny little things that tasted like kiwi but had large seeds inside.  japanese plums, according to my aunt.  the grapefruits at both houses were still tasty, though the roadside oranges we were so excited about near my uncle's house, though quite pretty, were so sour they were practically inedible.  ah well.

one morning I attempted to find a bakery that we'd found online.  it had 'looked promising', according to Mike.  not so, said the vacant building with the for sale sign out front.  across the street was a whole foods, and so, rather than some delicious pastries from an old florida bakery for breakfast, we feasted on several pastries chosen from the whole foods bakery.  not what I'd set out for, but pretty tasty nonetheless.  Claire happily helped choose the goods.

my grandmother lives right on a small lake, and we took her little boat out for some exploring one afternoon.  Claire loved it.  she was excited about the lily pads, the cattails, the chance to 'paddle' the boat (which I closely monitored seeing as how that single paddle was our sole way of getting back), the feel of the water, the birds singing nearby.  I love watching the world through her eyes.  what joy and wonder there is in the way a three year old takes in and fully experiences things.

 I am convinced that citrus blossoms are among the loveliest smelling creations in the world.  how I wish I could have bottled that smell to bring back to the mountains.  synthetic variations need not apply.

we made it to the beach one day.  probably we should have either headed out way earlier or just given up on making it there after a much slower morning than I'd anticipated.  florida beaches during spring break week are not a thing I wish to encounter, but living as we do so far from the beach, I couldn't resist getting there, somewhere, and at least saying hello to the water and getting sand in my toes.  my goal was caladesi island state park.  a ferry ride from honeymoon island state park.  by the time we got there after tromping around looking for a place to pick up lunch to bring along, it was already after 2pm.  and then they overbooked the ferry (that we'd purchased tickets for and waited for) and we were told we'd have to wait (at least another half hour) for the next one, possibly not able to get a return ferry until 7pm.  I was on the fence about it but Mike was the voice of reason, reminding me that we were supposed to spend the evening at my grandmother's before heading out the next morning.  so we ate our lunch in the picnic area of the state park and then went over to the beach.  it was too rocky to even sit or allow Claire to do any sort of playing in the first quiet (for good reason) area we drove to.  so we ended up on the small stretch of rather crowded beach where everyone else was.  despite my desire to make this beach excursion work, we are not generally 'beach people'.  I love the ocean, the gulf, the beach, that salty ocean air that I know in my bones is among the best medicines in the world.  it's the beach in the summer that I'm not into.  or really, it's that I want large stretches of beach to myself, so that I can enjoy it for what it is without listening to someone else's idea of good music, or having someone drop their fritos on me as they walk by, or look around and see other people's trash carelessly strewn about.  et cetera.  but we made the best of it because still, it was the beach.  and beautiful it was.  Claire and I buried our feet and made piles out of big rocks and chunks of sun-bleached coral.  we went for a long walk and watched a man fly a kite.  we squished seaweed in between our toes and picked up stinky sponges and interesting shells.  probably we stayed for about two hours.  and then we packed it in and headed for more visiting.

Claire made a nest out of spanish moss and waiting hopefully for a bird to come nest in it.  they did not come.  even after she called to them loudly for several minutes.  imagine that.  but it was a good effort.

and so our final somewhat-frustrating-because-it-never-seemed-to-go-just-the-way-we-were-trying-to-get-it-to-go day ended with a visit to my grandmother's and a stop by target to pick up a portable dvd player for the ride home.  I knew I wasn't going to have it in me to play nonstop entertainer this time around.  and then, back at my uncle's house, proudly packed up and ready to wake at 5am for a long drive, I realized I'd locked the keys in the car.  I will add that the night before, when I'd thought I'd lost my uncle's house key, Mike commented (in a somewhat exasperated tone) that it was "so like you".  you being me, of course.  but I ended up finding them exactly where I thought they were, where I'd already looked several times before finding them in a sneaky little pocket I hadn't even known existed in my purse.  anyway, the point was/is that I thought by finding them I had kind of proved him wrong.  but then I went and locked up the car keys.  a friendly AAA guy showed up within a half hour and solved the problem.  I admit I had a hard time letting it go and believing Mike when he assured me it was no big deal.  and truly, I know it isn't.  though I could work a bit on being less scatter-brained and prone to misplacing things.  hmm.

we arrived home with daylight and energy enough to plant some potatoes and for Claire to add a new rock (coral actually, I think) to our little garden beside the back door.

vacation is nice.  but oh how I love to be home.  home, home, home.  and home to spring, it would seem.  there is planting to do and chicks to rear.  and adventures to be had.


  1. wow! look at that! what a wonderful place to visit! I can't get over that cabin!!! I'll take one of those by the lake!
    But yes, always nice to be home.

    1. right? and that place is empty six months out of the year! if only it were a tad closer, I'd be there all the time!

      and yes- home, home, home. love it.

  2. The deep south is so sultry, no? i love seeing all the moss draping down from the oaks and whatnot. My home in Louisiana looks a lot like that minus the beaches, of course. Looks like a wonderful time. i love the picture of Claire in the wildflowers and the one of the laundry on the line. Those two, kids in flowers, and laundry on line, are some of my favorite photo categories. And the cabin...yes, the cabin, now that was something else.

    1. I think sultry is the perfect word for it. I was born in florida and lived there until I was 12, and while I love being in a more temperate climate now, I still find myself missing that deeper humidity at times (really!), the reliable thunderstorms, those boughs dripping with spanish moss..... the cabin is really cool. it's more like a lodge I suppose, complete with high ceilings and beams, a huge fireplace, and lots of mounted heads and antlers.


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