Ready to go

imageIt’s 5 a.m. A rooster is crowing in the yard behind the warehouse to our south. I can hear traffic beginning to build on the Central American Highway half a football pitch behind our casita.

I’ve been up for an hour, sippimg tea with honey to ease the persistent cough brought on by a slight cold and allergies.

I’ve dressed. I’ve put on and taken off my shoes three times.

The bags are packed and sitting by the door. The computer is charged. The camera is as well.

Snacks have been prepared. The water bottle is full.

All our accounts have been settled.

I’m ready to go.

My husband, ever the wise one, is still asleep, building up his energy for the trek ahead. I, like a child on Christmas morning, am pacing, peering out the door, checking the sky, my watch, the bus schedule.

It’s time to take off on our adventure. Walking, taking the bus, hitching rides on boats. It’s time. At least in my mind it is.

Another cup of tea, a little extra honey this time. A truck downshifts. The rooster is getting impatient for the sky to lighten, turn orange, then blue.

The breeze sneaks through the open kitchen window, rustles some papers on the orange tile, then rushes past the screen onto the porch. It, too, is impatient.

I’ll lace up my shoes again. When the sun comes up, I’ll go to the Supermercado in case we forgot some essential item.

A little Gallo Pinto for breakfast will take some time.

In a few hours we’ll be off and I’ll doze on the bus. Not the first bus into the city center. Or the second into the main hub in the capitol city. But, I’ll sleep on the third bus, the one taking us north and west.

We’ll stay there, at a $10 a night hostel, with kids half our age who are trying to find their path in life by doing what we’re doing. Walking, riding buses, hitching rides.

I’m ready to go.

I’ll unlace my shoes and have another cup of tea.


Dune – Butler Beach, Fla.

“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.” – Frank Herbert, Dune


The shoreline along the Atlantic coast of Florida is lined with dunes…ever-shifting sand that moves with the wind.


imageGrasses and flowers take root. Marsh rabbits and the tiny Anastasia Island mouse take up residence beneath the leaves in the dunes around here. Crabs dig below the surface. But when a heavy wind blows from the north east, the sands shift…sometimes  grains at a time, sometimes whole dunes disappear and reappear in a new spot. Continue reading

Birthday wishes

I have known Genevieve 9 months longer than anyone else has known her. Genevieve, you see, is my biological daughter.

Twenty-four years ago today was a balmy 71 degrees in Orlando when she made her appearance at 6:27 am.  Today, it is 61 and foggy in Butler Beach and I am not going for a walk until it warms to at least 71. I was 27 then and had a roaring little internal heater when I waddled into the hospital. I’m 51 now and the only pair of socks I own is fluttering around in the dryer.

imageI gained 101 pounds during that pregnancy – a combination of having been freakishly underweight to start with and having borderline gestational diabetes. I have never returned to my pre-pregnacy weight of 89 pounds, but it was Genevieve who helped me drop 30 pounds after Steve and I  got married a couple of years ago. I used to say that the extra weight I was carrying around was “baby weight”, but 18 years later, Genevieve informed me that you can’t call it baby weight when the baby has her own apartment. Continue reading

Like sunshine on a cloudy day – Butler Beach, Fla.

The new year started off gray and what a lot of people might call ugly.

imageThe temperature is in the low 50s and a steady drizzle is falling on our pretty little community at the beach. Most people are indoors, looking sadly out their sliding glass doors toward the empty shore. A few brave souls (probably from up North) are lumbering along the sand, hands thrust dejectedly in their pockets, head turned down against a chilly wind. This was not the photo on the brochure. This is not Florida. Continue reading

Art is for everyone – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

I cringe every time I see a sign at a museum that indicates the price of admission. Even if I can afford the entrance fee, I don’t think there should be a hinderance to those who can’t. Keeping beauty from people who can’t scrape together a few dollars to see it is offensive.

imageOf course, it costs money to maintain the building, to aquire the art, to hire the staff, but that’s just an excuse in some cases.

If you can’t afford the building, put the art in public places. Sculpture or other media that can withstand the elements can be displayed outside. Photos and paintings can be hung in public buildings.

Art is an expression of the world around us. It calls attention to our community, the sense of our time, the problems and the beauty of the world around us. Continue reading

From the marsh to the ocean – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

Between the restaurant and shopping area,  some upscale housing and the touristy area near the St. Augustine Beach Pier, there is a rarely noticed boardwalk that gives a quiet tour of the Florida that was before the Europeans and developers arrived nearly five centuries ago.

imageTwice, I missed the blue sign tangled amongst the trees and vines along A1A Beach Boulevard, heading east from the over-developed A1A. Continue reading

In every grain of sand – St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

The wind blows pretty hard some days here on the beach. Gusts rush in from the north and rearrange the sand on the beach in willy-nilly patterns with little regard for the man-made objects in its path.

imageA recent windy day, pushed away dunes – or parts of dunes – that had been my landmarks on some of my walks. New dunes pushed up against piers, retaining walls and furniture. Walls of sand stood where nothing had been before when the swirling grains settled down.

When another wind whistles wildly along our shore, the process will begin anew to re-configure the landscape and paint a new picture of the beach.

Signs under the pier that were over my head are now at toe-level, warning me not to loiter in a spot where I can not even stand.

The stairs are easier to climb when three-quarters of them are under the beach. A picnic seems less inviting when the table is partially submerged in the ever-changing landscape.

We shouldn’t fear the changes that fill the old spaces and bury the familiar. The things that were comfortably there yesterday have taken on new forms. Impassable passageways have been revealed with the covering of the old way. A new perspective on our world brings new understanding.

Look for the beauty in your life with new eyes.