Christmas in Florida ~ Part 2

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It takes at least a day and a half before the realization of a vacation sets in. Work worries, family obligations, and the routine planning of this website and that life must all exit the head, and they do – but it takes that day and a half. Then the secrets of calm and restful ways are revealed, slowly at first, until the full bloom of a sunny beach in Florida unfurls, lined with sea shells and dotted with tropical blossoms.

The ocean sparkles, crests shimmering with the reflected diamonds of sunlight. Sand pipers walk hurriedly along the shore, while flocks of gulls soar overhead. The majesty of the sea is present as much in its quiet beauty as in its tumultuous power. For now, the sea slumbers, and a very pretty slumber it is.

For a native of landlocked upstate New York, the Florida coast is a marvelous wonder. A long line of exotic artifacts lines the lapping edge of salt water. Sponges and shells and the dried carcass of a catfish all present themselves to my childish delight. Warnings of it being stingray season – “Please shuffle when walking in the water!” – fill my mind with boyish excitement. I still get a thrill from new scenes of nature, and they are in ample supply here.

The Gulf Coast is a revelation. Somehow it feels more tranquil, sporting richer colors, more intense skies, and a tug at the heart that only beauty could pull off.  There is also a variety of bird-life that inhabits the water and the air, dancing along the shoreline, preening in the sun, and tip-toeing through the sand. I’m held rapt by birds I’d never seen before, entranced by their exotic features, and the way some of their beaks match the color around their eyes. I could spend a day just watching the birds here.

At the end of a pier, a pelican teases beneath wooden slats, peering up at me while enjoying the bit of shade from an unrelenting sun. I wait for the elusive creature to swim out before grabbing the only photo I could.

Then there was this bird – a Bird-of-Paradise. These beauties grow outside here; a treat to see, as I’ve only ever encountered them in a greenhouse setting. The flowers of Florida can be found in bloom at all times of the year, so I captured a few more.

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