Tag Archives: Florida

Softly the Evening Came…

…with sunset. – Henry Longfellow

“The sunrise is Gods greeting – the sunset his signature”.

– Unknown

“Peace…is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank”.

– Unknown

“Clouds come floating into my life,

no longer to carry rain or usher storm,

but to add color to my sunset sky”.

– Rabindranath Tagore

“Sunset is a global phenomenon

with a long history”.

– Tiny

“At sunset

Nature is painting for us…day after day…

pictures of infinite beauty”.

– John Ruskin

“Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seems

as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven”.

– John Lubbock

“Living is strife and torment,

disappointment and love and sacrifice,

golden sunsets and storms”.

– Laurence Oliver

“At sunset

the universe is getting up its hopes

for a better tomorrow on earth”.

– Tiny

Winter Has Arrived…and Departed

Last summer I wrote about the beauty of living on the beach. And in October I talked about the fall  – saying that, in my humble opinion, we actually have four seasons also here in Florida. So now I’m going to tell you a little bit about the winter on the beach.

winter beach edited

Last weekend and early this week, we had a few real winter days. No snow of course, the sky was mostly blue, but there was no mistaking that the elusive winter season was here. The day-time high temperature did not reach beyond 42F/6C and at night the temperature fell close to the freezing mark. Combine that with cold 20-30m/h northerly winds and 2-3 foot waves…and it’s winter!

winter beach 2

Last Sunday I took a walk on the beach in proper winter attire usually reserved for my travels in the north, but still couldn’t stay for long before I felt chilled to the bone. On these winter days, which admittedly are few and far between, the ocean takes on a more blue-grayish color. Winter-silvery, kind of.  The sun can come out but is not able to warm up the chilly air mass, and sand is often blowing around in the hard wind. The sand chips will sting you like small needles if you are not properly covered.

014

The beach was almost deserted and for once I didn’t meet anyone jogging around bare foot wearing shorts and sleeveless t-shirt! I could only find one brave sea-gull who defied the chill looking for something to eat at the water’s edge, while the large variety of birds normally “living” on the beach were nowhere to be seen!

bird on the winter beach

I didn’t find any kids playing in the sand that day either, but there were still some reminders of art that had been created a few days earlier when the temperatures hovered around comfortable 63F/17C.

shell castle edited

This morning, however, the winter temperatures had left us for now and it was really comfortable again. The ocean had returned to its blue color, a sailing school class was gathering a bit out from the shore, hundreds of little white dots covering the horizon. One young person in each small sail boat, hopeful to soon master the wind on the water.

sailing school 4

And the birds were back in abundance, sea gulls, pelicans, blue heron, you name it! They had survived the cold days and were back in force, all kinds of meetings going on, high pitch discussions and lots of diving for fish. The beach was lively again.

This big fellow was carefully monitoring a fisherman’s luck, hoping to get his fair share of the catch. He may have learned that patience and persistence will be rewarded, sooner or later.

blue heron on winter beach 3

Walking home I noticed that the drier and cooler winter weather had produced some brilliant colors along our board walk back from the beach. Very little of that in the fall, much more now in the winter.

winter beach colors

And in our garden, the yellow hibiscus flowers spread their delightful cheer also in the winter season. From my tiny point of view, I would say that we do have fours seasons, although winter is very short and a bit touch and go. Which is just fine with me. Hope you enjoyed the relatively “wintry” beach walks.

winter beach hibiscus

Have a good weekend everyone whether you enjoy it in real winter conditions, in the heat of the summer in the Southern Hemisphere or somewhere in between, like me.

Fall at the Beach

Inspired by the wonderful photos of fall colored landscapes on many of the blogs I follow, I decided to examine the colors and other signs of the changing season here at home, on the Gulf coast in Florida.  Many people seem to think, as I used to do before moving here, that there are no seasons in Florida – it’s always summer. So booring? But that’s only partly true (I learned the term partly true as I was watching the commentary on the presidential campaign): there are four seasons here too, although the variations are much more subtle. After living here on the beach part-time for four years and full-time for two years, I can clearly distinguish the seasons and will be updating my readers when our short winter arrives…

We have now started our regular morning walks on the beach, whenever I’m not traveling, which in it self is a sign for us that the summer is over. The morning temperatures are now in the low 70s (around or just above 20 C) and in the afternoons it climbs up to the mid 80s (upper 20s C). The humidity has also dropped considerably. In the summer we go to the beach mostly just to swim in the ocean, but during the other three seasons it’s truly pleasant to take a long stroll on the sand, watch the pelicans dive for fish, and just listen to the waves rolling in.

Walking to the beach through our gardens, I did not find any deciduous trees…we only have palm trees in many different variations and many “bush-like” smaller trees. And they are all green, surprise, surprise! The red and yellow colors are found mostly in the form of flowers.

Some of the bushes have a few leaves that are changing color, but the funny thing is that the leaves are painted, then dropped to the ground one by one – or so it seems! I have not seen shrubs that are completely yellow, brown or red, just sprinkled with color.

On the beach itself, I found fall colored grass in nice deep purple! I also found yellow beach flowers that only bloom during this season. It’s clearly autumn on the beach too!

There are also many other signs of the season on the beach. The lifeguard booth is abandoned, probably until Thanksgiving. Not many people are swimming in the ocean now although the water temperature still is 82F/27C. The beach chairs are mostly stacked up and the kayaks and jet-skis are there, but on dry land now waiting for riders. And the para-sail equipment is ready to take you up in the air should you desire to admire the waters from above.

But then there are long stretches of this miles long beach patrolled only by the birds, occasional local joggers and walkers like us.

So if you are looking for some peace and quiet to renew yourself at “mid-term” or just want to escape the high pitch of everyday hubbub, you should come and experience the fall on the beach.  Even later, in November or December, you might want to enjoy the pleasant temperatures and the natural beauty of the Gulf coast to balance off the first snow storms. Fall is indeed here too and it’s a good time for a visit!

The Beauty and the Beach

After many years of living in capital cities around the world, and numerous intercontinental moves (phew, that’s a different story altogether), we finally decided to abandon our city life and took the leap to a very different lifestyle. Much simpler and quieter.

Of course there were some sacrifices to be made. Like abandoning a rewarding 24/7 job and the short walks to theatres and music halls. Not to mention, depending on the city, the daily bumper-to-bumber commute, packed subway trains,  the close-by Versace and Louis Vuitton shops and the constant buzz that’s ever-present in any large metropolitan area.

While the break-up was generally very pleasant, there was a transition period of feeling a bit… abandoned. I guess having the constant hubbub of people around you is somehow a bit deafening. Stress is quite noisy. My ears were only hearing the quiet in the beginning. Then little by little, I started hearing all the sounds of the nature. The wind in the palm trees, the ocean, the birds.

With that came the realization that I was free from the rat race. There was quite a wonderful sense of liberation!  Not that I had completely retired, but now I was my own boss. I could work as little or much as I needed to. And do work that I found interesting and meaningful, and still have the time to do other things I love. I would make my own schedule, work virtually from my home office much of the time, watching a pelican or a fish hawk fly by my window. And I would travel globally. But always be back here on the beach after a half hour drive from the airport.

    

Now after almost two years of my “new life”, I cannot even imagine a transition in the other direction. I’ve come to appreciate our laid back life, the long walks on the beach and in the close-by nature reserve. And the swims in the ocean. We have also found nice places to visit nearby, from excellent restaurants to museums and small theatres. Even went to see Sir Paul and Sir Elton some time ago.

As I recently said to a friend who lives in N.Y., the backwaters do have a cultural life, planes visit here too, and one can actually drive a car here. Not just practice parking and stretch one’s patience. But some people prefer the humming buzz of the big city. And that’s great. The world beautifully accommodates all of us.

All I can say is that I found the beauty on the beach. For that I’m always grateful. Peace.