Thursday, September 16, 2010

September Wind

Could just be me, or maybe I’m reading it wrong, but in the past several days the air feels a little different here along the coast in central Florida. Not a day passes, rain or shine that I don’t log some time walking on the beach. Unless there is a disruption in a rather undemanding schedule, that time comes early every morning. The rare occasion will see me walking in late afternoon, but my preference is to be out early in the day.

The wind has altered, and something tells me it isn’t an offshore wind or breeze related to storms far out in the Atlantic. Storm generated wind has a different feel and even a different scent from what has characterized my beach walks this past week or so. Is it perhaps the first shift of season in moving from summer into pre-autumn? That is exactly the feeling out on the beach this week.

For several days I’ve sensed a change, a feeling immediately noticeable upon stepping outside in the morning. Gone is the spike of heat so regular these last months. Gone, too is the hard glare of sun that makes cap and sunglasses a requirement. Naturally, mornings are always cooler, even during the hottest weeks of summer, but there is now a creeping awareness that before long my trunks and sleeveless T-shirt may be inadequate.

The feel of the sand beneath my feet was for three days this past week very unlike what I am used to, a softness or mushy surface that made hard work of walking. On each of those days, to spare myself the struggle, I left the beach near the halfway mark and walked on a narrow street just over the dunes. This change in the sand’s firmness is influenced by phenomenon I can’t describe, but common sense tells me it must be related to tidal patterns.

But, the off-beach walking brought a big surprise on one morning. Happily walking along I came face to face with a five foot snake in the road. A rat snake, and a very beautiful one. The snake was obviously recharging its energy through the warmth of the pavement. A nudge near the tail produced a slight head movement, but nothing else. It was still there on my return, and I watched a few minutes until it slithered off into the tall grass of an empty lot. Not a big fan of snakes without the glass barrier of zoos and television screens, I must say this rat snake was a handsome specimen. Usually quick to remember the camera in my pocket, this time I never thought of it. The photo here is a stock image of a rat snake very like the one I encountered.

The beach photos are north and south views of the stretch I walk each day.

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America