Out and About in the Florida Keys and Big Creek Book

So far, April is much better than March was.  There are some, but the calendar is not full of medical appointments.  My shoulder pain is now merely background noise.  The weather has been spectacular.

It’s funny, but one of the things that hurt most with the shoulder was walking.  I don’t know if it was the weight of the arm or the natural swinging motion when one walks. I think some of both, but it is over now.  So we have taken more walks lately.  I’m still not back to my pre-surgery distance though. And, the pain from holding the camera to my face is barely noticeable. So I took some pictures.

This hawk was on a dead tree at the beach at Bahia Honda State Park, one of our regular walking courses.

b Hawk on Dead Tree


I was enamored with this hibiscus with the sun shining through the petals.  It was growing in the RV Park. I like the shadow of the bud behind it.

b Yellow Hbiscus w Sun Back
Yellow Hibiscus


This tiny butterfly was feasting on even tinier sea grape blooms.

b Tiny Blue Butterfly
Blue Butterfly on Sea Grape Flowers


The flowers are very small, but there are a lot of them.  The trees are loaded with extra-long clusters.

b Sea Grape Blooms
Sea Grape Blooms


This hibiscus might be on the same bush as the previous one, but it was taken on a different day in the RV park.  I wonder if my neighbors know how many pictures I take of the RV park flowers.

b Yellow Hibiscus
Yellow Hibiscus


We like to sit outside on our back patio overlooking the mangrove swamp. This lizard has pretty good camouflage, but I spotted him anyway.

b Lizard Camoflage on Tree
Lizard on Tree


This was a new lizard sighting for us. We have never seen a yellow stripe down the back.  There is also an interesting pattern. Notice the exceptionally long tail.

b New Lizard
Yellow Striped Lizard


Here are some old sea grape leaves in the afternoon sun at Bahia Honda State Park.  There is a wonderful tunnel through the sea grapes leading up to the old bridge.

b Sun Through Seagrape Leaves
Seagrape Leaves


We have had some of the lowest tides we have ever seen here recently. Huge areas of sand  have appeared at Bahia Honda and people and birds have taken the opportunity to walk on them.  I like this pictures because of all the stripes in front of and behind the Great Egret.

b Great Egret on Stripes
Great Egret


This juvenile ibis was marching across the lawn at Oceanfront Park as we were walking around the perimeter.

b Juvenile Ibis in Oceanfront Park
Juvenile Ibis


These young men were catching bait fish right in front of us while we ate lunch at Oceanfront Park.  I took a number of photos of them tossing out the net.  Not all my photos turned out so well and not all their tosses yielded fish. They noticed me taking pictures and called to me to send them to them.  One guy yelled out his email address, but I got it wrong. I tried every alternative I could think of, but they always bounced back.

b Catching Bait Fish
Tossing Net to Catch Bait Fish


These stunning Frangipani are growing next to the RV park club house.

b Frangipani
Pink Frangipani


I don’t know what these are, but the color is amazing, especially on the buds.

b Purple Flowers


I had some real excitement yesterday while Andy was walking to the grocery store. I was preparing to wash the dishes and spread my dish-drying mat on top of the stove.  There is hardly any counter space in the motorhome. I don’t think it was a minute later when I noticed a tall flame on the stove.  I had forgotten to turn off the gas flame when I finished fixing dinner.  I had turned it down to the lowest setting to keep the food warm and then didn’t even notice the flame when I was loading the plates. I quickly turned off the burner and lifted the mat off the stove.  Melted foam rubber was all over the burner and then the floor when I dribbled it from the flaming mat.  I set it down and stepped on it to put it out. I did a lot of scraping, but still have not removed all the melted foam from the stove.  It all came off the floor though.

Lastly, I have been making some progress on the book, Big Creek – A Closer Look at a National Park. I emailed a draft to the editors on Wednesday. I guess it is natural to have doubts. I don’t know if anyone will buy it.  Hopefully all my friends who have said, “Write a book!” over the years will buy one.  But then, they have already read it in my daily emails.

The book does not have a story.  No structure. It is merely a long series of paragraphs, and sometimes single sentences, describing individual events that we experienced or heard on the park radio. Some people might describe it as a snapshot of the park.  Today I was thinking it is more like a slide show. Hundreds of events, one after the other, all day, every day in a national park. That is the point I am trying to make.  I’m sure many will interpret that as bad writing. It is unconventional.

It was exciting to see what the cover designer has come up with, using my photographs! It is not done.  The first concept had yellow words which popped off the cover better.  She had changed the font and the color.  I like the new font, not the new color.  I also asked her to move the two small photos down further to cover up some of that ugly gravel and balance things.  It looks top-heavy to me.  We also need to come up with some mention of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which is this year if you didn’t know already.

Big Creek Cover April 15
Proposed Big Creek Cover


Maybe it needs a picture of Spence.

So, what do you think? Feedback would be appreciated! Positive or negative.