Down here at Sarasota, the issue of the week has been the deep freeze taking out the crops. Strawberries shrouded in ice from the sprinklers, smudge pots going full out, and miles of plastic sheeting have done their best, but it's not looking good. On one of the nature trails today, the bouganvillia were frosted, looking quite forlorn. They, too, need a better wardrobe.
On the beach, the big waves tossed up lots of treasures, including this little octopus. He was most definitely Not amused to be on the beach.... He was pretty co-operative about climbing off his hunk of coral and onto something more easily thrown. I tossed him (her? how does one tell???) as far back beyond the surf as I could, so I hope the little guy makes out okay. He was really interesting to meet up close and personal.
He didn't need a wardrobe, so much as he needed deeper water, which I suppose IS a type of wardrobe. Certainly it's more than just a fashion accessory.
The storm is over, and the weather is starting to warm up again. It's been quite interesting listening to the locals, and eavesdropping in restaurants. I met a family from Sweden, who thought the ocean quite warm. There were some sailors at lunch who, having only recently worked their way down from Boston, were rethinking returning to the Florida Keys. One retailer, commenting to me on why the stores seem so empty, who concluded that it was too cold, no-one wanted to leave the house. Are they Nuts????
It's been wonderful weather for walking, and I've found every nature trail there is. I've had them all to myself, mind you, but that's fine. it's been a great chance to watch the local birds --
including another osprey, this one sitting in the shallows, where he had just snaggled a crab for his dinner. He let me get some shots of him up in the tree, cracking the crab open, but I like this one, because we don't usually see them sitting in the water like this.
At least, I thought I was all alone on the trails, until I rounded the corner at Fort DeSoto and found this chap. What on earth the Spaniards were thinking, trying to ride into mangrove swamps, remains one of life's great mysteries. To nobody's great surprise, it was a bad idea. Fort DeSoto, for those of you who are in this part of the world, is well worth the visit, a really interesting interpretive site. I learned how to throw a spear, using an atlatl. (go look it up... it might be old, but it's awesome.)
And of course, when you face the western sea, every evening brings sunsets. This one was taken at Coquino Beach, were I was NOT alone on the beach. There was an old salt out there, wearing shorts and a windbreaker, and past his Best Before Date. None of which stopped him from taking a brisk stroll into the wind on the beach at sunset. Now, he's got the right spirit! It was inspirational to share the beach with him.
Not to mention sharing it with the sun slicing down through the clouds.
It is supposed to get warmer tomorrow. There remains an outside chance that I will get a slight tan... but if not, I know I can count on getting a great sunset...