Seeing & Looking
In Florida Bay, sixty miles south of Miami, we anchor in six foot teal water depths. Off to port, there is a familiar tail clefting and swooshing the water's surface: a dolphin is pushing sand around on the bottom with its bottlenose, perhaps hunting a stone crab. A waning full moon dots the sky.
Rowing ashore against the current in our dinghy Dog Paddle: a kingfisher percusses out from the mangrove forest, an osprey call pierces out across the water from its nest atop a gumbo limbo tree. Two white ibis nibble by red mangroves along the shore. We walk down the dock to the historic home and hurricane shelter; the latter has walls a foot thick. The home itself was built by a Miami chemist. Its walls are made of coral reef material.
Except for the osprey, the soundscape is quiet this Sunday morning. No rangers are working this morning on Lignumvitae Key, the highest land in the Florida Keys. We pay the park fee and walk a flat, mangrove-surrounded trail. This brings us close to banana spiders and their webs, which span the path we stroll. We pause, rest, and stroll back to the dock, and rowing home, black cormorants launch off a section of the closed dock and below them are hundreds of fish, hovering in a slight current. Portuguese man-o-war drift over shallows near the shore, where six ladyfish are motionless under the mangroves. On this calm, bright morning in the Florida Keys, we row back, stow the oars and greet a patiently waiting dog. The soundscape is broken by laughter.
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages