Destination Clearwater Beach

Florida is a big ol’ state. Just how big?

  
Well, according to City-data.com,

“The total area of Florida is 58,664 sq mi (151,939 sq km), of which land takes up 54,153 sq mi (140,256 sq km) and inland water 4,511 sq mi (11,683 sq km). Florida extends 361 mi (581 km) E–W; its maximum N–S extension is 447 mi (719 km). The state comprises a peninsula surrounded by ocean on three sides, with a panhandle of land in the NW.”

Even though Studly Doright and I have lived in Tallahassee for the past three years, and prior to this stint we lived in Melbourne, FL, for a period of four years  from 2000 to 2004, with a stretch of Illinois in between, there are a great many places in the Sunshine State that we’ve yet to visit. 

This week we’re heading to one of those long neglected places, Clearwater Beach, for a belated 40th anniversary celebration. 

  
Clearwater Beach is on Florida’s Gulf Coast, roughly 40 miles from Tampa. Rumor has it that the beaches there are some of the finest in the world, and I plan to do some serious investigating–mostly from the comfort of a lounge chair under a broad beach umbrella while sipping a mojito.

My Studly Doright is in need of a hefty dose of downtime, so we haven’t made plans to do anything too strenuous on our vacation. We have tickets to see The Dixie Chicks in Tampa on the 19th,

  
and I want to check out the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where “Dolphin Tale” was filmed. 

  
I made Studly watch “Dolphin Tale” so he’d be familiar with Winter, the dolphin. 

Other than that, we’re going to be lazy beach bums for a week. I’ll try to keep up with my blog, and I’ve got a few pieces queued up. Maybe I’ll even find some new inspiration.

  
What??? It could happen. Until then, keep the faith.

  
Peace, people!

Mermaids

Swim if you will with mermaids three, Barbara, Irena, and finally me.

We swim together in the warmest seas, as the scent of salt air floats in the breeze.

Our tails undulate in time with the waves, while we frolic and sing all of the day.

Fish bubble our names and swim by our sides, slips of bright scales into the tide.

Alas at day’s end our tails start to shrink, and legs sprout anew, shiny and pink.

Then off we go to our respective lives to masquerade quietly as respectable wives.

  

Hail to the Beach

Written in response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Sudden Shifts

You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.

Part I

A perfect day:
picnic lunch
followed by
a nap on a
blanket covering
sun-warmed dunes.
Toes dipped in
surf by frolicking
grandchildren on
moist shoreline sand,
while doting adults
watch in vigilance.
Waves resignedly
fail in their quest
to overtake dunlin
despite their
best lapping efforts.

 Part II

Clouds gathered,
rolling in on
gusts of frigid air,
sharp precursors of
coming attractions.
Urgent warnings
called out, squealing
kids for once take
heed, scampering for
cover beneath a
blanket anchored
by sturdy adults.
A barrage of hailstones
direct from cumulonimbus’
towers batter those
human tent stakes
for an endless minute.

  

Part III

As quickly as it
began the storm is spent.
Jubilant children,
no worse for the onslaught,
race back to the
foam for reunion
with the salt, and
the sun, and the sand.
Bemused grownups
examine their own
bruises, shrug
and move forward,
back to lifeguarding.
It’s what they
do best.

 

Greeting card photo by Brian Mollenkopf.
 

Peace, people!

Benches

All along the wooden pier,
benches sit immobile,
beckoning visitors to rest.
Words etched on brass plates
for all to see:
“In Loving Memory of My Parents”
“For My Dearest Aunt Laura”
“In Memory of a Great Fisherman”

One imagines the benches might
mark the places at which each
memorialized person spent time
casting hooked lines
into the gulf’s waters
while drinking cold Budweiser
to better pass the time
between sunrise and sunset.

Now, lovers claim the benches
wrapped in embraces, scarcely
noticing the memorial plaques
on the creaky, weathered slats.
Fishing for affection
in the early evening hours
catching no fish,
but not caring.

  

I’ll Sea You There

In response to The Daily Post’s daily prompt: if you could live anyplace else on earth where would it be? There is no doubt where I’d go.

I. Give me salt and sea

Let me wake to ocean’s roar

Guide my steps in sand.



II.  Relentless waves shrug

Nudging shells onto soft sand

Here are her treasures.





III.  Sunset on ocean

Mist caressing horizon

Capturing the light.



Peace, People!