The Vacation Winds Down


All I can say is that it is a good thing that the Keys were the last point of my agenda rather than the first. I would never have escaped from them--never found my way anywhere else. I did not expect to like them as much as I did, and yet, there it is. Nearly everything else pales in comparison, as lovely as it all was. I'm suffering from Keys withdrawal.

The pace of Island life was so subdued and so Caribbean--I don't do night life so I didn't really see Key West at its worst--in fact, I saw nothing that put me off overmuch, and certainly nothing that was as bad as the Ocean was good. There is nothing like the sight of turquoise waters broken by the deep blue of channels and the occasional brown of a shoal or coral reef. Nothing like seeing parrotfish and angelfish swimming free. Nothing at all like the Dry Tortugas. While I was there I met a volunteer in the gift shop and asked him about the living arrangements for volunteers. I didn't think that they would come in with an early boat and go out in the evening. And I was right. They live on the island for thirty day stretches. Suddenly I saw myself as a gift-shop volunteer on Garden Key--somehow don't think they'd put up my whole family though.

And Key West, while magnificent and displayed for tourists in a way unmatched by any other key, was simply the jewel in the Crown. Bahia Honda, a long key with a gorgeous beach and a magnificent view of the Flagler bridges was our last stop on the way out. We only spent a couple of minutes, but it was once again gorgeous beyond words.

My host has been extremely patient and kind. We have schedules that work well together to give each of us a lot of private time. He gets up along about 4:00 am and I get up about 7:00 and follow that with an hour or so of hemming and hawing, prayer and prep for the day. He goes to bed along about 8:30 (or earlier) and I go to bed along about midnight or 1:00 am. Again, open spaces of free time for both of us.

This vacation has been a blessing, a deep and wonderful blessing. And in the course of it I have seen a great many things, most particularly those recounted here. But Key West overwhelmed me. I would like to go back and go parasailing (a desire I have never before in my entire life felt). It's odd, I have no longing to live there. I don't know that I would like to live there all the time. But as a rejuvenating charge, they simply can't be beat. Next time it will be with the family.

(Oh, and the major impediment against these things--the very frightening prospect of a hundred-mile-long bridge is not even remotely a reality. There are only two fairly long stretches of bridge. So, I suspect that I will return as soon and as often as is feasible. These are a taste of paradise on Earth.)

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 15, 2005 1:32 PM.

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