Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gods of the Florida Bayou

I tried hard not to let on in this blog that I wasn't home this past week - for my home security sake. I was, in fact, in Florida with my mum and Bill. Bill and I got home last night. Well, I got home and went to bed. Bill jumped in the car and drove to Albany for a case he's working on. I have no idea where he gets the energy.

Anyway, while we were in Florida I did as little as possible. Except, one day, we drove to visit our friends Arthur and Anya. They live near St. Petersburg and invited us to go kayaking with them in their bayou.

Let me preface this story by telling you that Arthur and Anya are the least stressed people I know  - the exact opposite of Bill and me. They are very good for us.  We visited them at the end of our holiday - the timing was excellent- we had hit our peak of relaxation so the transition to their way of life was not so jarring.

After examining the fruit trees in their garden and catching up with news of our respective children, we readied the kayaks. Anya may appear relaxed, but while we were sitting on our bums, she had prepared food and drink for the long paddle ahead. Arthur showed me an aerial map of our route, and I was a little tentative. It looked like we were going to be travelling miles. I hoped I was up to the task. Arthur and Anya kayak a lot so they are in good shape. I didn't want to let them down.
Turns out it wasn't a problem.

Bill and I set off together at a brisk and steady pace. We had a rhythm going when I heard Arthur exclaim "Liz, you're working too hard. Relax". And then Anya tossed me a cold Labatt's. We drifted for a bit. Ahhh. 

We meandered through a beautiful mangrove forest and tried to analyse the smells. We floated a while and had another beer. We chatted with other wandering kayakers, watched the mullets jumping out of the water and into the air (Arthur explained that the low oxygen in the water causes them to leap to gather the richer 02 in the air), and listened to stories of manatees on our hosts' last cruise. Anya took us to a place she knew where Roseate Spoonbills sometimes roosted, and we were delighted to find five of them.

 Then we had another beer.

The sun was warm, the water was beautiful and calm and we had two of the loveliest companions who were so happy to share their bayou with us. As we headed home, 3 dolphins crossed our paths as if to say "Hey! You lucky beggars! Enjoy this idyll".

We ended the day with a hot tub (another "ahhhh") and a perfectly cooked salmon dinner. Arthur and Anya may as well be named Zeus and Hera  - they are Gods to me... the day they planned for us was perfect.

Thank you.

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