Natural shells found on the Florida Gulf Coast

Our drive down to the Gulf Coast was uneventful, which in February is a lucky occurrence.  It was a good start to our getaway.  By uneventful I am referring to weather not the scenery, for albeit Winter, I was still awed by the rolling hills of Tennessee and the towering pines of Georgia.  The vacation for me, however, began at the first Florida welcome center with its free citrus juice and glorious sunshine.  A few miles further, it was impossible to not sing while crossing the Suwannee River with its Spanish moss dripping from the cypress into the water below.  I have done this drive several times and it never loses its charm.

We veered off the interstate near Lake City to meander "Old Florida" back roads as we headed toward the Crystal River area.  It was at this time the Avett Brothers sang out from our playlist, "No need to keep stressing from our everyday life on our minds, we have got to leave all that behind."   Their song At The Beach continues with "I have worries to give to the sea."  Amen, Brothers.

Three Sisters Spring with manatees on right

Three Sisters Spring was our second Florida stop.  At times three hundred manatees have gathered in the warm waters.  The day we visited there were perhaps around twenty.  But we were lucky as the number of human visitors was down too from the rush they had in recent weeks due to some national television coverage.

We continued South to our ultimate resting place on the beach. The sun was a fiery orange ball when it fell in the gulf that evening.  By contrast the following morning was a soft pink and blue dream.  Daily I was charmed by pelicans, osprey, herons and other shore birds, dolphins, crabs, abundant shells and the happy faces of passing beach walkers.  Rough surf one night produced treasures in the sand the following morning.  Some were delightful, some were devilish.  Yet with all the inspiration surrounding me and the ideas that were ignited, I refused to divert my eyes to a sketch book and pencil for fear of missing something.

So there are no illustrations to post, only memories and a few photos.  I gathered ideas for the future and cast the past into the sea because I just had to leave all that behind.

Nature is gloriousRevel and renew yourself in it.