|Full disclosure, this isn't from today, but from a boat tour with Stretch when she was here|
I would like this post to reflect the Three Good Things that my friends and I regularly share with one another to help us focus on the fact that even in the worst days, there is always some good.
1. Anna Maria with the Rickster
Ever since the Rickster's brother died from complications of skin cancer (you heard me, skin cancer!) we have been very careful with the Rickster's skin. He actually has had one episode of "the bad kind" of skin cancer, squamous cell. Luckily, it was treated and so far (fingers crossed) no more episodes. So, we slathered him with sunblock and had our umbrella and just hung out on the beach.
It started out being pretty sunny, but eventually a haze developed and it became pretty overcast, but it was very warm. And the water...oh, the water of the Gulf of Mexico is the most beautiful, clear, warm water and today it was ideal. Very calm, gentle waves.
Unfortunately, we couldn't enjoy reminiscing about the time we were groping one another on the sandbar, early in our relationship while currently groping one another in the gentle surf. We couldn't do that because we ended up having to be sure at least one of us was with our things. A grifter was obviously watching for people who were intent on frolicking rather than their belongings. Luckily, I saw her watching our stuff, looking around to see if anyone was watching and then moving toward our stuff. I yelled, she left, all was well.
While I was swimming at one point, though, there were 3 dolphins who were doing some frolicking of their own nearby. I tread water and watched them, amazed and --yeah, I won't lie -- a tad scared by how close they were.
We ended our beach adventure by going to the Publix on the Island and getting sandwiches. We took our sandwiches to the Kingfisher Boat Ramp and found a nice picnic table and had the most amazing conversation while we ate. These are the conversations that make me so grateful for him. After more than 2 decades together, we still find each other endlessly interesting and entertaining.
2. Strapping Noodles to my Soul.
I just randomly mentioned to the Rickster a few days ago how I saw someone use pool noodles to strap their kayak to their car, in the absence of roof racks. Now, my very cool wheels, my Kia Soul, has no roof rack (yet). So, I usually have to use the Rickster's Sportage. Today? He surprised me with my very own pool noodles! And? It worked!!
3. Today's adventures in kayaking
So, since we went to all that work, I decided to put it to good use and have a sunset kayaking adventure. There's a place to put into the Manatee River, near the mouth of Tampa Bay just a few blocks away, so I went there and put in.
While it had been very still while we were at the Island, now there was a bit of a breeze, but kayaking was still easy. I was focused, at first, on getting out of the very shallow area where I put in, but quickly realized there was a pod of at least 4 -- I am NOT making this up -- DOLPHINS! More dolphins!! I've seen dolphins in the river there plenty of times, but there was something very cool about seeing them while I was kayaking. They were oblivious to me.
The reason? There was this large school of fish that was making an incredible sound...just "whoosh" that was actually similar to the sound the dolphins made as they breached and took a breath. This school of fish, like a flock of birds, would make sudden shifts in their direction all at once and it was so cool to watch. For the dolphins, it was meal time.
It was also mealtime for the pelicans. They seemed to have worked out a tacit deal with the dolphins on taking turns feeding. But, with food so readily available, the pelicans apparently decided to play. They kept flying, swooping and then landing. I swear it seemed as though they landed to watch the dolphins with me.
At some point, one of the pelicans flew close to the water and passed within inches of the front of my kayak. It then banked and the tips of its wing skimmed the water. It was such a cool thing to see. It reminded me of skimming my fingers on the water while the Rickster paddles the canoe. It was so obvious that he was only doing it because it was fun.
This day. This day was just magical.
When I told the Rickster, he said that it was just like an acid trip he had at sunrise in Big Sur in the summer of '67, So, pretty fuckin' cool.