As some of you may have surmised from the pictures I've posted recently, I've been at the shore since the beginning of the month. And, as those of you who follow such things know, most of the country has been experiencing colder than normal temperatures. As I stood in line at the airport a few weeks ago, I realized that I had not left my hat and scarf in the car. It seemed such a silly thing to bring with me to Florida. It hadn't occurred to me that I might have to wear them, as I did last weekend when I was photographing birds at low tide. Temperatures in the low 30's are extremely rare in Southwest Florida, and while unpleasant for the vacationer or winter inhabitants, have caused serious issues for the growers whose crops cannot take sustained freezing temperatures. There were even a few days when I shuddered as I looked at the sky and thought "snow sky". I didn't see any flurries, although I heard a news report that some were seen about 30 miles south of where I am.
Two days ago, it began to warm, although the mercury struggled to reach 60 degrees. There were some sun-seekers who, unwilling to be thwarted by capricious weather, decided to work on their tans. The running joke has been where they are from: Russia, Norway, Minnesota, Alaska, Siberia, North Dakota, Patagonia. Even with the benefit of windbreaks constructed of beach towels and chaises, one must have a sturdy, winterized constitution to sit on a beach in a swimsuit at 55 degrees.
Something is different today though. It is in the 70's. There isn't a cloud in the sky and air is still. As I sit on my balcony reading, I inhale an intoxicating mix of cocoa butter, charcoal grills, beer, boat engines and the sea. Yes, there is something about warmer weather to lift one's spirit, as if the sun were capable of performing some sort of psychic photosynthesis on humans. It is so much better to share the beach with the warmth of the sun, the salty smell of the sea, and the gleeful mix of surf, music, and child-like laughter as people gather to recreate.