Monday, August 10, 2015

Driving Up, Driving Down

Well, my mom and I made it down to Longboat Key yesterday with no problem. I set out from Anna Maria Island about sunrise (above), and drove up to Tampa to pick her up.

I know it seems kind of ridiculous to drive all the way up there and then turn around and come back almost to the same place I started from. I'm traveling up and down Florida, up and down, like those mermaids inside the water-filled plastic pens we used to buy at beachfront souvenir shops.

But my brother felt that my mom shouldn't have to drive down to Longboat on her own. We also had concerns about parking should we all bring our own car. So, yeah, that was me, zipping over the blistering-hot Howard Frankland bridge (above) yesterday morning, headed for Tampa and home.

Now we're here.

This is the same condo complex where my dad used to rent a unit each summer between 1980 and 1985 for all of us to stay a week. I was surprised, when I walked down to the beach, to see how well I know this curve of sand -- the way the coastline dwindles to a point in the north, the profile of the buildings to the south. I've gazed at that horizon many, many times. (Before we stayed in these condos, we rented a cabin just a few doors to the south. All in all I spent about eight summer weeks here.)

It's great to see my nieces now in my shoes -- exploring this beach as children, picking up broken augurs and ark shells and cautiously skirting clear globs of jellyfish. Rolling in the waves. We walked the beach yesterday evening and found silly, stilted birds, a filmy dead angelfish, a broken sea fan, a strip of green sea grass that would have made a great headband if only it had been longer.

I know I keep moaning about the heat, but man, is it hot. It's like an oven out there. A nuclear reactor. I don't remember it being quite so intense when I was a kid. Is it just my age? All I know is, my knees go weak with delight when I come inside.

I also feel no desire to get into the warm bath of the Gulf. I used to love swimming in the Gulf as a kid. Now I'm content with the pool, and even then, only occasionally. We get so soft when we get older, don't we?

I know I haven't been around blogland much lately. I've managed to post each day, albeit somewhat superficially, and my reading has fallen behind. I'll do my best to keep up!


  1. A trip down memory lane!
    It's impossible to keep up with blogging in summer. I've been doing the opposite - reading but not posting. It will all go back to normal in September, I'm sure.

  2. Nice photos, especially the sunrise...I really do need to get a camera.

  3. I can't even imagine Florida in the summer - and I don't want to, having survived Virginia and Oklahoma summers (before air conditioning!!) as a child. You probably feel the heat more after becoming accustomed to London weather.

  4. I know exactly what you mean about that same view. It is how I feel in Roseland.
    And hell yes! It is so hot. It's insane.
    I know those pens you're talking about. I'm pretty sure you can still get them at Weeki Watchee. Enjoy your Gulf! And as I said to May yesterday- it's too hot in the summer to go to the beach!

  5. Only fools go to the beach in August, at least the beaches on the Gulf Coast. Unless it's 5 PM or later. I still swim in the Gulf though. I like to body surf when the waves are right.

  6. I've been asking myself the same question about the heat. Is it really hotter or is it just age. You've been living in a much cooler environment so this has to be a change to your system. Love that silly bird!

  7. florida is a planet onto itself. I'm convinced of it.

  8. I'm glad you're spending this time with your family!