Saturday, June 07, 2014

Passion of the Flowers

Florida (named Passion of the Flowers by Ponce de Leon)

Land of the Seminole, settled 14,000 years ago, land of fantasy with its dream of springs of youth, land where Ponce de Leon was mortally wounded, Florida shrank to half its size when the glaciers melted; it  may shrink by half again as the planet heats.

Hibiscus from the garden
Chez M & J

Nonetheless, this diverse peninsula is ripe for exploration. From crawling swamps and bayous to expanses of the purest quartz sand beaches on earth, the state is a plenitude of nature and culture, including hideous urban sprawl as well as wetlands that home countless birds and reptiles. Here is what we encountered there.

Heron at Venice Beach 
 Alligator in gold and silver at Myakka River State Park

My travels in Florida began in April when I flew to Sarasota. Staying with my ex-wife and her wife in Venice Beach, the latter took me to state parks and  beaches where we watched glorious sunsets, drank wine, ate seafood, observed the flora and fauna, and spent a full week discussing our lives and changing experiences.

Buddha of Sarasota
 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Sunset at Siesta Key Beach

The end of May, I returned with my companion in Music and Philosophy, and with my friend of 22 years who was on her way to perform the wedding of her niece.
This second time was a road trip, covering the entire state from St. Petersburg to Venice Beach, to Miami by way of Alligator Alley, skirting the Everglades. In Miami Beach my good friends from Frankfurt joined us for a taste of South Beach culture and swimming.

South Beach, 

South Beach, Miami

Road trips are about ourselves as much as they are about new territory, exploring the byways of our own and each other's psyches. This trip was exemplary, revealing the strengths and the flaws in our connections with those who are close, exposing otherwise hidden aspects of ourselves. Here are the persons with whom I engaged in the exchange of ideas, time, dreams, disappointments, and expectations-- the flesh and blood of shared travel experiences:

Will: Night Music
Venice Beach

Joce: Sunset, Caspersen Beach

Wolfgang and Sebastian
Purple Penguin Cafe, Miami

Jack, Will 
A La Folie Cafe
Miami Beach

Wedding Toast

Treasure Beach

Starr Tays, Sun Greeting
St. Pete Beach

For the best photographs of the two trips, see:


Plus our Photo-book: 


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