Random thoughts in the sunshine state

The surf has a relentless, unending, chaotic energy that is beautiful to lose yourself in. Every second that you listen to the surf is different than the one before. Like snowflakes, it is unique in its nature. Unlike snowflakes which are frozen moments in time, the surf is constant change that is timeless in its own way.

When I was a kid and learned about Portuguese men-of-war, I imagined them as these large imposing structures that migrated the oceans at their whim. Seeing them small and at the mercy of the surf, eventually ending up trapped in seaweed on the beach, you feel sorry for their struggle. They’re probably still packing a heckuva sting, though.

Miami seems to be in a constant state of renewal, buildings draped in scaffolding & nets as they peel of the surface to apply a new face. I’ve been biased from media & shows in the past that have made me imagine the stereotypical person from this area: patching, retrofitting, enhancing as the years go on. I don’t know if the building work here is from the effects of nature, plain old aging or just the desire to attract more people. I guess it’s the same in all cases.

I saw a plane dragging the sign “Happy Birthday Meza” bookended by hearts. Yes – have a happy birthday!

Lying on the beach turning over a shell in my fingers, I think about how long that shell has existed, how long it took to get to that place on the sand, how long the creature that called it its home lived. It’s all a blip in time in the grand scheme of things… depending on your perspective, it’s still to happen, happening right now, or happening over & over.

My host at the hotel restaurant is Denirre, with a lovely smile and thick dark braids. She smiles at everyone and is surprised to hear about the music festival here.

My Uber driver is from Venezuela and speaks very quickly with a warm thick accent. He asks me to speak more slowly so he can practice his English. His wife and daughters are still in Venezuela. He will go back to visit when it gets calmer down there. He would love for his family to be with him but his wife doesn’t speak English well. “Maybe Canada!”, he exclaims. I tell him that it’s a big, pretty country with strong supportive neighbourhoods and that he’d probably like it there, maybe except for the cold.

Just saw some Canada geese fly overhead.

Some guy is trying to pick a fight with the airline attendant at the gate. Our flight is delayed, the weather isn’t great and it’s getting crowded. I totally understand that she just wants things to run smoothly for the benefit of everyone. He can’t seem to understand why she isn’t bending over backwards to accommodate him, even though he just showed up about 20 minutes before boarding (after everyone else has shown up). I guess when you’re so focused on your own needs, you can’t see the needs of others.

The air is warm and slightly thick like honey in the sun. It’s an energizing & refreshing change from the recent polar blasts. Still, I see almost every car with the windows up and the A/C on. I recall the author Richard Morgan referring to A/C as “condition chilled air” – seems to capture the idea that it’s somehow transformed into some packaged, industrial product that you pick up off the shelf in the freezer section.

Even the rain here is nice.

I learned that the colours of the flags at the lifeguard station mean specific things – “purple” means something’s in the water. “Red” means don’t go in the water. “Double red” means definitely don’t go in the water.

On the hotel restaurant patio, there are tin owls everywhere, staring intently to help keep the pigeons away. Pigeons have it hard everywhere.

Coming back to a place you’ve visited before has a comfort to it. You’ve made small dents in another place that are easy to recognize and familiar. Like those puzzle games where you fit the small shiny metal ball into the divot, there’s a small satisfaction when things fit. But there’s also exhilaration when you careen off and explore a new direction.

Discovered a new type of bird today (well, other people know about it, but it’s the first time I’ve heard about it). The “grackle” is a fairly common bird here… looks like a thinner, smaller, stretched out crow. Very high-pitched call. I think they’re aspiring to be crows.

Hammocks are extremely comfortable. After lying in one for about half an hour, I notified that walking felt completely different – almost like floating.

I wonder what Miami will look like in 50 years time. They talk about the ocean levels increasing by 6’ which would put almost the entire beach under water. I imagine the city adapting and becoming like Venice. Can’t wait to see the tricked-out boats.

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