The look of the weather this morning reminds me of the Keys, and I’m missing them the way you miss a good friend that you may never see again because of it. There’s an edge to the weather that hints at big—the wind is strong and gusty, the clouds are cumulus and crisp at the edges, the eucalyptus and palm trees are bending like grass in the wind. And the color of the sun on the edge of the clouds is just the color of a Keys morning.
I used to drive to work the 30 miles down Highway 1 from Big Pine Key into Key West. That’s a thin strip of concrete and a million miles of water and sky; it’s like driving in a painting and sometimes you realize it on the way in, when your mind isn’t obsessed with upcoming work tasks, or whether Front Street is still flooded from yesterday’s rain, and will there be parking on Whitehead Street, close to the office. It’s a huge canvas of water and light and usually clouds puffed here and there that catch the morning light perfectly, pink and orange and the whitest-white you can imagine.
It makes me sad and happy all at once to think about it because the memories are mostly good and the bad memories are just part of the mix, no big deal.
I remember the first time I saw, or heard rather ghost crabs shuffling along in the roots of the mangroves next to the trail. Scared me to death to see crabs that big with their claws up all ready to fight–they’re blue and green and white and red, crazy and prehistoric-looking. I remember the first time I saw a spider web spread across the trail and the spider in the middle was the size of a silver dollar and legs about a foot long. I remember when the first times became familiar and it didn’t scare me anymore I just loved it, loved being a part of something so tropical and exotic.
I miss it still, and maybe always will.