Sunday, January 16, 2005

Best Day Ever!!

That's what Lilek's little girl says when she has had a wonderful time. She says it a lot, but at 4 years of age, she is just beginning to climb the first steps of "best days ever".

Today was one of those for me. This has been a warm winter so far for South Florida. It got somewhat "cold" - for Floridians - just before Christmas. But as soon as Christmas was over, it got warmer than usual for this time of year. Not much I can do about the weather, so I just go about my business and enjoy what there is to enjoy. But for the past few days, starting Friday, it has been rainy and drizzly - not tropical rainy, but northern rainy. Friday it was hot and rainy - weird. But Saturday, when Dart and I went our on the porch for our morning coffee with the cats, it was cooler and still raining. Our plants and lawn needed the rain badly!! I hate having to come home and use the hose to water the lawn. We don't have a sprinkler system, and digging a well and installing one would take mucho bucks. We don't even have a couple o' bucks, so it's out of the question.

Anyway, Saturday was agreeably wet and cloudy and rainy and cool - I could veg indoors and not feel guilty ("you should be outside working on the should be outside should be DOING things around the house that need to be done"). It was wonderful. Ashley and I went garage sailing - that was early in the AM before the rain began to fall - it was just cloudy. We found a few goodies and went home. After that major effort, I took a nap. It was wonderful.

I'm leading up to today. This morning, Dart and I were going to go to Myakka park on the west coast of Florida. But we're two slugs. We can't get up early enough for the 2-3 hour drive to enjoy the we were tossing around WHAT to do. We've been meaning to go on what we call a "swoop" for a couple of weeks and haven't unslugged enough to do it. Today was the day - we have Monday off, so it was PERFECT. And - it was cold, windy and cloudy - perfect weather for a northerner who wants to feel a little "winter" in her bones. Since I'm from upstate NY, and we get a LOT of cloudy days there, I like one once in a while. And when I get one that is not only cloudy, but cold, windy and rainy - it is positively orgasmic!! So we dragged our lazy selves through the process of getting ready to go and packing up all the stuff we have to take - binoculars, cameras, extra batteries, battery chargers, snacks, maps, hats, etc. etc. etc.

FINALLY we get on the road. We realized it was too late to go all the way to Myakka, so we decided to go on our tried and true wilderness jaunt. We got on I-75 and 45 miles to the Indian stop on Government Road. We got off there, made the obligatory stop at the new (thank GOD) rest rooms - and continued on the two lane road lined with canals and fields and COUNTRYSIDE for as far as the eye could see. This is great - but it isn't the best. We drive about 11 miles to something called, "Huff Bridge Road" - it is a gravel road, not paved. That's when the fun begins. There is no one on these roads. Hunters and fishermen come out here, but in very small numbers - so we don't usually see anybody. And since today was cold and cloudy and rainy, we REALLY didn't see anybody.

There's something about riding along in the car, windows open, heater going - feeling the wet COLD air whooshing around our bodies - that is delicious. It's like when you're little - and you go out to play. You play until you're filthy and you're ready to drop. Then you go inside and mom has dinner made, and you take a hot bath and feel SO relaxed - and then the nice clean's heaven. But only after you've played yourself out all day. This is what my husband and I like to do. We "go out to play". We stopped whenever we saw a likely bird or area that promised birds. I saw ANOTHER painted bunting today - that's the second this year!! There were all kinds of warblers, hawks, crested caracaras, ospreys - they were all out and making a ruckus in the trees!! We stopped on the gravel road at one of our favorite places and had a little picnic. The rain was just a fine mist, so it didn't stop us from photographing or from being outside. It was just enough to make it so pleasant when we'd come back into the car and turn on the heater.

For me, just walking out where there are no people, just birds and trees and - well, whatever else is there - the sky, the air, the smells, the's heaven on earth. I can't even begin to explain the elation I feel. I don't care what I look like, or what my hair is doing - the whole thing is being THERE, soaking up the outdoors.

I also love to look for stuff to bring home. I found a gator jaw today - with teeth still in. I also found some blue crab legs - beautiful - with the pincers still on - but the crab must have been eaten by a bird.

So the reason today was the "best day ever" was the wind in my face, the sky, the cold, the sight of the birds all fluffed up against the rain, the photography - just the feeling of ALL of me being alive and humming at once.