I just spent a week in Central Florida. And though I had high hopes to get reptilian, I did not wrestle any gators. I mean, a blonde alligator gettin’ her wrassle on? C’mon now. I woulda won. I suppose the Florida gators will just have to wait until the Caligater returns.
I had time to do a lot of thinking and writing while I was in Florida. And while I was thinking and writing, several things emerged that I want to work on. Here are some photos & thoughts from my trip.
knuckle & brawl
The Wine Room on Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida, serves enomatic wine—it’s basically a restaurant-sized vending machine for wine. I vowed to pick wines solely by the silliest labels. This bottle, with a Popeye-esque boxer on the label, was delightful. And it reminded me to keep knucklin’ and brawlin’—to keep fighting the good fight. Even if I didn’t get to wrassle any gators.
In Wekiwa Springs State Park, it was a brisk 50 degrees out, but the spring water was 72 degrees. I swam (okay—I doggy-paddled) in the clear water with minnows, cichlids and catfish nearby. I floated on my back for some time. With my ears underwater, all the noises of the state park were blocked out and my range of vision was only the sky. And I just floated. It reminded me to bring that kind of (figurative) buoyancy and quiet suspension to my day-to-day life.
203 steps lead to the top of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, the second tallest masonry lighthouse in the United States. The lighthouse is solid brick and the Fresnel lens at the top can throw its light 20 or more miles to the horizon. Wow. 20 miles. And it made me wonder how far my light reaches. I want to shine brighter.
step into the shadows
It’s been about ten years since I’ve seen the Atlantic Ocean. I walked along a frayed and tired Daytona Beach, with piers in disrepair and hotels boarded up. It was late afternoon and my shadow was long. Despite my desire to shine brighter, I know there will be shadows. And I want to keep moving into shadows—because if I’m stepping into a shadow, I know there is light behind me.
manatees are awesome
Sea cows are adorable. I want to adopt a pet manatee, name him Herb and keep him in my bathtub. Hey, I’d settle just to hug a manatee. Can you imagine?
Blue Spring State Park counted 195 manatees the morning that we visited. They usually weigh a ton, eat up to 60 lbs of plants per day and have whiskers on their snouts. WHISKERS! Nothing profound here…manatees are just awesome.
icing on the cake: joie de vivre
Near the end of my trip, a friend and I exchanged some DMs on Twitter, and he gave me one of the brightest—and most humbling—compliments I’ve ever received: “Your joie de vivre is uplifting and inspiring.”
I didn’t even know that I manifested a joie de vivre—a joy of life—even though I do have a joyful outlook on life, despite the trials and the shadows. But I realized that a joie de vivre envelops all of the things I’ve listed above. These are the items I want to work on in the coming days and months: knuckling and brawling, floating, shining and moving into shadows.
And maybe I’ll get to wrestle a gator. Or hug a manatee.