I made it down to Boynton Beach, Florida Wednesday night. After a two day drive with a stop to see good friends in Durham, NC, the familiar cul de sac welcomed me, as did the air conditioning. Dooey and I stretched our legs and were both relieved to be out of the truck.
I've been traveling down to Florida throughout my life, my father's parents lived down here and we visited at least once a year as I grew up. When I told people that I was traveling down south in July, I was met with raised eyebrows and disbelief. And I too, wondered about my choice, it's just so hot in Florida in July. But Dooey likes an adventure, I could stop and see friends, visit with my family, and I would spend as much time by the water as possible.
I am always struck by the plant life here, there are Birds of paradise, philodendrons, palm trees, mango trees, avocado trees and pine trees in abundance. It is so lush with greenery, and I love that about it.
The very first morning in FL, after spilling my coffee, I walked into a chair leg and severely injured my little toe. It is black and blue, painful, and has limited my mobility. Luckily, it seems to be healing and this morning I was able to walk with Dooey a little farther. As I hobbled down the road, Dooey kindly slowed down his gait and I worked to accept my situation and enjoy myself anyway. It's a quiet community with lizards, and iguanas! a lake, ducks and skinny squirrels, except for the constant landscaping activity. There are sprinkler systems, lawnmowers and leaf blowers. And I thought about how much effort goes into maintaining this lush but manicured natural setting, and about a recent Ted talk where environmental writer Emma Marris asks "How do you define 'nature'?"
"If we define it as that which is untouched by humans, then we won't have any left." She urges us to consider a new definition of nature -- one that includes not only pristine wilderness but also the untended patches of plants growing in urban spaces. You can listen to that talk here.
For now, I will continue to enjoy the natural splendor that surrounds me and feel grateful for the gift of time to appreciate.