Saturday evening I was doing a little clean-up in the kitchen and watching the clouds roll across the sky. I leaned over to get a better look towards the northeast and there it was – the end of a rainbow. It has been a long time since I’ve seen one that was as brilliant so I grabbed my camera and ran out the front door in my slippers.
It was a surprise rainbow because we had a very cloudy and gusty windy day. For over 24 hours the wind had been howling through the white pine, and the newly bared branches of the deciduous trees were whipping around and singing deep mournful songs. The wind sounds were unsettling. We very seldom get wind from due East and today the wind blew from the southwest, but whipped around the house and onto my east facing front porch to knocked on the windows of my reading room. We had gotten some rain in the past hour but the clouds were blocking the sunset so the rainbow was a big surprise. It seems strange to write it but I really needed this rainbow – without knowing I needed it.
It has been a very difficult month. The backside of Hurricane Ian combined with a super-high tide deposited a couple of feet of water inside our condo in Florida. Nasty brackish water contaminated with raw sewage. Things are working themselves out and we are fortunate on so many counts. The flood insurance carried by the condo association (FEMA insurance) was on site as soon as the water went out with the tide. They wanted to get a mold mitigator in immediately at their expense so mold wouldn’t form and migrate to the upper units which would lead to the city condemning each two-unit building. We had to go to Florida immediately but not until they told us we could get to the condo and it was safe. We were told the mold people were coming right away so we had to get anything we could salvage from the dumpster out of the unit and moved someplace else. We decided to drive because we knew it would be impossible to get a rental – and when we talked with our neighbor we learned that the Ft. Meyers airport was closed. Another neighbor flew into Ft. Lauderdale, was able to get a car and hotel room there and drove across the state every day. A neighbor with a second floor condo said we could stay there because one of them was receiving radiation treatment in Missouri and wouldn’t be going to Florida this year.
Our task was overwhelming. I didn’t fully comprehend how it felt to sit down on a chair and feel the dampness wick through my clothes, to open the bottom drawers of dressers and have the drawer fronts come off, and to work in sewage. I wasn’t prepared for having to make thousands of decisions about what couldn’t be kept, what maybe could be kept with washing, what wasn’t worth keeping, and what should be kept. I remember picking up an open box of Q-tips from an above-water-line drawer and thinking “those can be saved.” And then I pitched them because they didn’t have enough value to take to Michigan and back. Did I say our condo stank?
There was, of course, a boil water warning. Not a problem because we were eating in restaurants (that had a shortage of food) and drinking bottled water. But silly me! Our friend’s condo was our clean space, our comfort zone, our safe place. It never registered that the water I used to take pills and brush my teeth was that same water that went to our contaminated condo. Both of us got a bit of intestinal upset, but not enough to keep us from traveling north. We only wanted to stay three nights. Jim said he didn’t want to see our things taken out to the dumpster.
Yes, seeing the rainbow in Michigan after experiencing the aftermath of flooding was very welcome. I could hear Judy Garland singing, “Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high…” And I remembered the Christian Biblical story of Noah and the flood and the rainbow as a promise that God would never send a flood to destroy the world again. I didn’t miss the irony that we, the inhabitants of our world, are the ones who, through past and present actions, are causing the global warming and resulting extreme natural disasters. The greed and over consumption of developed countries could cause the destruction of our world this time, not God. I can hear my mother saying, “You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.”
When we returned to the Botanical Gardens in January, I immediately headed for the Stick Sculpture that I introduced during its construction (here). It looked much different than I had anticipated but I wasn’t disappointed. It was more open than I had visualized during construction and also had many more twists and turns. It pulled us in to explore each arch and window.
I was amazed at how the willow branches were woven into curves and arches, were turned to form windows.
We sat on a bench at the southern end, looking at the sculpture and as usual, Jim had a story to tell me. The stick sculpture reminds him of being a kid living on North Street. There were lots of boys his age living nearby and frequently a few of them would hop on their bikes and go to the nearby “woods.” There they would build a stick fort, a much smaller one than this but every bit as exciting. Of course other boys would tear it down, but that only provided an opportunity to build another, better one. With the story in our minds, we sat smiling and looking and feeling at peace.
I am finding, as I am aging, that many “interesting objects” attract my interest because they remind me of something from my past, but with a novel twist. This post is brought to you in response to Patti’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Interesting Objects.
On Thursday night a front went through that lowered the temperature and humidity here in southern Florida. I sat on the lanai watching the lightening and listening to the thunder exploding and rumbling around us and felt cool rain, misted through the screens, fall on my warm skin. Jim joined me so we ooh-ed and wow-ed together, then laughed out loud.
The next morning Jim saw on the local news that the waves were 11 feet high at the pier but I had physical therapy so I couldn’t think about checking it out. That evening we went for supper at Alice Sweetwater (isn’t that a wonderful name for a pub/restaurant) and split a wonderful baked cod with crab stuffing. Our supper was so very enjoyable but I was also thinking about our plan to go to the beach to see if the waves were still high. High waves are a treat for me because the Gulf is generally calmer than the Atlantic coast on the other side of Florida.
We were over an hour early for sunset but the sun was low, sending rays down through the clouds, and down the beach to the right were some wind surfers taking advantage of the wind and waves.
The Naples beach is a long, public beach with every east/west street ending at the beach with parking. Where we parked the beach was narrower than at other places and it was close to high tide. I had to point one eye down to make sure the surf didn’t come up over my shoes as I was keeping my other eye looking through the viewfinder. We have had a super tide (when high tide, a full moon, and extreme change in atmospheric pressure converge) and high tides due to hurricanes but I have never been on the beach when it was this high.
What fun to watch the waves reach out long onto the beach and then retreat, only to return to stretch even further, leaving behind white foam that would blow further inward toward the high side of the beach.
This sand structure touches my personal story somehow, but I’m not sure how. If and when I figure it out I can use this as the lead photo for, as Paul Harvey used to say, “and that’s the rest of the story.”
Thank you, Amy, for this wonderful Lens-Artist Challenge: A Day of my Week. Check out her post for her beautiful images, links to other’s posts, and to participate yourself.
I love boardwalks for two reasons. First, they allow me to get deeper into nature’s beauty without the danger of falling due to uneven ground, tree roots, rocks, etc. Second, I love how they are made of pieces of lumber that form straight lines, but still their structure has lots of dips and zags and turns with surprises.
The Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has a 2.25-mile boardwalk that meanders through pine flatwood, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. Can you follow these straight lines? Something like walking the straight center line while being falling-down-drunk.
I love this type of boardwalk (above and below) that is a great alternative to walking on soft, shifting sands. From this perspective you can tell which alternative I actually chose.
I love the pattern of straight lines that crisscross the “straight line” of the boardwalk path.
Central Florida is noted for its many springs bubbling up from the underground limestone aquafer. Many people, all of them young, were choosing to walk up the shallow river in the 72 degree (constant) water. They saw the wonders of the spring water up close but I chose the boardwalk even though it seemed a bit unstable, triggering my height anxiety occasionally. The straight boards shoring it up didn’t seem to increase my confidence in its safety, but my desire to explore the beauty of this unique landscape pushed me forward.
Thanks, Cee, for presenting this challenge of “Straight Lines” that gave me a chance to meander through my maze of files (in my brain and computer) looking for examples of boardwalks.