Monday, February 11, 2008

We spent the day at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Cape Kennedy. The Florida birds were out in force. We saw an osprey nest, both parents in residence, and an enormous eagle nest with two fledglings. Sunning himself alongside a canal, this alligator looks to be smiling.

Snowy egrets chased fish in the shallow waters, right alongside avocets, willets, and skimmers. We then drove south to Fort Lauderdale, and after many turns and twists, found a hotel that accepted our discount coupons. We’ll fan out from here to explore those famous beaches along the Florida gold coast through the rest of this week.

We visited Mary and Alyssa staying in South Beach at a funky retro art deco hotel right on Collins Street. The traffic inched along at under 5 mph, cars bumper-to-bumper, people crossed the two-lane streets at random, lights from upscale shops glittered like Las Vegas, and music boomed out of sidewalk bistros. For dinner, delicious sweet sushi at a walk-in restaurant, the cooks chopping great slabs of raw salmon. We talked and later walked along the beach, far from the noise. The crescent moon rose above the palms, its gleaming white crescent at the bottom of the moon, so different from Oregon.

At night coming back home along the causeway, the high-rise condominiums glowed and seemed to float along the horizon, sided by ocean on one side and the intercoastal sea on the other. Most of the time, we don’t go out at night, so this world was quite different. It makes me think that our journey is inward as much as outward, and we make a quiet world wherever we go. Make it a good week.

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