Life is Beautiful…

I’m around some people who don’t see beauty around them. It makes me sad when I hear them talk about suicide or being depressed. I’m not bipolar but I have had very close experiences with people who are and it’s really tough to see them go through these extreme lows.

Please, if anyone out there is interested. It’s such a precious place we live in. There’s so much beauty surrounding us. It may not be right next door but it’s definitely on our planet. Use your imagination…dream… let your mind go places that you may not be able to go physically at this moment.

I believe in the power of positive thinking. I think that when you feel that things are possible. They really can be. There’s no limitations except what you place on yourself.

I, myself, plan on traveling. I just have to wait a couple of years for my daughter to graduate school. Then I can just pick up and go. Possessions are nothing. Life, love and experiences are everything.

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A perfect rose…

 

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Skiing at midnight…

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Kayaking through the mangroves…

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A beautiful Autumn sky…

I don’t even have money to travel but yet, I can have these experiences. So if I can convince anyone that life is beautiful around the corner….I’ll be happy.

 

 

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Sanibel Island – Day 4

Kayaking!  With the stormy weather we’ve been experiencing this week while here on Sanibel Island, I woke up a little anxious to see how it looked outside. Fortunately, it was clear. A little overcast but otherwise clear of rain. We got ready, for once I didn’t have to wait that long for my teen to get ready. She knew that if we weren’t there by 8:15 am sharp, we would miss out on the whole kayaking experience.

We got to the dock at the Ding Darling National Preserve right on time to check in and get to orientation. There was an amazing smell in the air, the smell of fresh rain from earlier that morning mixed with various sunscreens that everyone was spraying or applying. I happen to love the smell of sunscreen for the most part. Reminds me of Summer and beach every time.

After a quick little orientation with our guide, we were ready to set out. I had done a little kayaking before but my daughter had never been in one. So, being the “stronger” kayaker, I would be in the back of the two seater kayak we were using. I didn’t do too bad with the steering and my daughter caught on quickly and appeared to have a lot of fun with it.

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Our guide was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about he whole Tarpon Bay area and the surrounding mangroves. Something that I didn’t know about mangroves is that they don’t drop seeds like other trees do. What happens is they kind of give birth to a small plant which falls off the tree and ends up floating until it reaches shore someplace and takes root. Apparently it can float halfway around the world and take root. I thought that was such a fascinating piece of information. To imagine something traveling so far. The water also looked dark while we were padding through and he explained that rain and storms such as what they had been experiencing causes the mangroves to release a tannin-like substance. As a result the water looks like someone dipped a tea bag in it, turning it a dark color. Otherwise it’s clean and pure most of the time. I dipped my hand in the water and scooped up a fistful of water and it was the clearest water that I’d seen. Without any specks that you normally find in a body of water.

After paddling through a maze of islands and mangroves, we finally parted ways with our guide and were free to keep the kayak for as long as we wanted the rest of that day. We floated around in the bay looking for manatees. They were out there, we’d see them poke their noses up out of the water at various points then disappear again. It appeared that they had a certain amount of curiosity about the humans and boats coming and going because anytime a boat started its motor, we would see a couple of noses pop out of the water and back down. We were told that they were quite comfortable in that little area by the boat dock where they could observe humans.

In addition to the manatees, we could hear animals back in the trees, see lots of birds flying and roosting. Tree crabs even. Those were funny. Since we weren’t exactly expert kayakers, we ended up plowing into and under low lying trees and would reach out to grab branches so that we didn’t completely get stuck and quickly found that we needed to be careful when doing that because there were tree crabs crawling up and down the branches. Little tiny things. Apparently they spend half their time in the water and the other half up in the tree branches.

After about four hours or more of kayaking, we finally got tired and pulled back into dock. By the time we stopped at the local grocery store for some goodies and got back to the hotel, the storms came in again. This time, it wasn’t a quick passover with the sun coming out. It was an all afternoon rain. But today, I really didn’t mind because I was so tired from the workout earlier that I actually welcomed it. It gave me an excuse to lay around and nap.

I’m realizing just how much one needs to rejuvenate their minds and souls. I had been so focused on trying to save money and conserve my time off from work for my daughter and my mother. Especially my mother, as much as she’s needed to go to the doctor this year. I really didn’t realize how tired I had become until we came out here.

If you’re like me and depriving yourself because of money or other commitments – really try to find a way to give back to yourself. I promise you, you’ll go back to your routine feeling a certain amount of peace and relaxation that you probably didn’t realize you were missing.

 

Sanibel Island – Day 3

Woke up to a storm this morning. It was dark and raining outside. My initial reaction was disappointment because after all, one goes to the beach expecting (hoping for) sunny weather. Then after a few moments, I realized that it would be the perfect time to explore the island and check out information on kayaking. So, after an hour or so of my daughter dressing, rejecting, dressing again, several shirts strewn about on the bed and me sighing loudly in exasperation, we were finally ready to go.

By the time we walked outside the rain had slowed to a drizzle, just enough to keep it cool but yet still easy enough to drive around in considering I didn’t have a clue of where I was going to be driving. As it was, there was no need to worry about losing my way. There’s only a couple of main roads that takes one from the eastern part to the western part of the island. The island itself is roughly 8 or 9 miles long. It wasn’t packed from end to end with tourist stops and shops like so many tourist destinations are. There were gift stores and shelling stores but for the most part they were tastefully spaced apart. There were still so much undeveloped land throughout, which I love. I don’t much like places that are too touristy and overdeveloped.

At the end of Sanibel Island, there is another small bridge that connects to yet another island called Captiva. This island is even tinier but obviously home to some very affluent folks judging from the houses, or rather – mansions, we saw. A lot of them were set back deep in heavy foliage so we could just see that there was a large house and some elaborate detail but never enough to see the whole place. the island is so small that most of these houses have a view of the Gulf.  By this time the sun had come out clearing out all the storm clouds and the view was wonderful.

Some of the views these houses have….

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We took some pictures of the houses themselves but somehow I get the feeling it might be a violation of their privacy if I posted them here.

After driving about on this tiny little island, we decided to head to “Ding Darling”.   A national preserve that had been established on Sanibel years ago to protect the birds, marine life and wildlife that inhabit this place. If you looked at a map you would see that the southern part of the island is where the hotels and shops are and the top half is all preserved land. We weren’t able to drive through due to the roads being repaved, but they had kayaking trips that would take us into the mangroves. After talking with someone about this, we signed up for a kayaking trip departing at 8:15 the next morning.

Since the storm cleared out and the sun was out, it was time to head back to the hotel and get on the beach! Once on the beach, we could see that the overnight storm had kicked up even more shells than we had seen the previous days (if that could have been possible). The water was warm and gorgeous. If the beach was full of shells, I just knew that if I was patient, I should be able to find a perfect, unbroken shell specimen in the water. I wasn’t out there in waist deep water very long before I was rewarded with this…

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My perfect shell. It’s about the size of the palm of my hand.

My daughter on the other hand wasn’t so adventurous, she came out into the water but couldn’t handle all the shells brushing up against her feet. She’s the type that needs to know exactly what she’s stepping on and with the waves and current being so strong, there was no way to see that deep. I probably didn’t help matters when I kept digging around looking for shells and scooping up sand dollars. Every single time I scooped something out of the water, I had a sand dollar in my hand. They were live so of course I put them back, but she started freaking out over the fact that we were probably standing on a breeding ground for sand dollars and worried that we were hurting them. She finally couldn’t handle it anymore and went back up on the beach where she could keep an eye on what she was standing on. The sand dollars appeared to be clustered in a line at a certain point all up and down the coast so I just moved away from there and kept diving and digging. I found more large shells but nothing quite as perfect as the one above. That’s ok, though…one gift from the sea was wonderful.

To bed early again, the sun and salt water is really putting my mind and body into serious relaxation mode.