Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Keys Disease: A Never-Ending Saga of Sunshine

Over the past couple of months I have developed a very bad/good habit of obsessively checking Reserve America for availability, particularly for Long Key. Bad because I keep booking and booking and leaving barely any weekend time for recouping and/or the mundane errands that us regular people with full-time jobs have to do like cleaning and well mostly cleaning. I end up going days, sometimes a full week with all my gear still in my car. I'm pretty sure at this point my co-workers think I'm living out of it, but hey it makes me feel mobile and I like that! Good because well I keep getting to go back! Weeee! Two weeks after our last Long Key visit I found another cancellation and we headed off to our paradise once again.

 This time Finnley slept over my house so we could try and get an early start. As expected that didn't work out as planned. We left around 10:00am after shopping and buying another seafood feast. Unfortunately, we ran into bad traffic pretty much right off the bat. We were barely driving an hour before we were backed up for an hour. After the 3-way intersection of The Keys, Everglades National Park, and Biscayne Bay we started moving, but ended up stopped again on the blue walled road for another hour. After the past two trips down there I was and am still really sick of traffic. I almost exploded in anger. Every time that shit ruins it for me. I mean I know down in the Keys that is like the standard, but every time Finnley and I have gone to Key West before, 98% of the time it was smooth sailing.

Something I noticed and found weird about the Keys is every time we are stuck in traffic people decide to get out of their cars and start walking. Normally when you’re dead stopped for an hour plus the people can make it to a point and get picked up, but traffic was moving a little too fast this time and we saw a guy running after his car. I felt bad for him, but it was really funny and his friends did eventually pull over and wait for him. At one point as we sat in the dead of traffic, the man in the car behind us exited his vehicle carrying a styrofoam food container, walked to the side of the road into the grass and just dropped it there. I watched this person in shock. I couldn't and still can't believe someone can be so deliberately careless for the earth. I got his tag number, I don’t know what I'm going to do with it lol, but I have it just in case. My dad actually offered the only insight into a justifiable reason: what if he had a bathroom related accident?? Lol can’t argue with that. 

Due to all the delays we didn't make it to camp until 3:00pm. When we got there the ranger remembered us from last time and we talked to her for a little. We did a quick setup and tried to calm down from the 4 hour drive that should have only taken 2. This time we had some friendly neighbors from Maine. We talked to them and exchanged stories of our travels as we set up and made our pregame dinner of clams and steak. Afterwards we did some exploring and watched the sunset. Unfortunately our delay didn't leave much time for adventure. When night fell we had a second dinner of scallops and shrimp. Nothing tastes better than a grilled scallop dipped in garlic butter as your toes are in the sand and the wind blows sea threw your hair. Which reminds me, holy moly was it windy! Everything we did was a double struggle mixed with laughter at all our awkwardness.

We had a nice big fire that night even though it wasn't so cold out. I tried taking more long exposure shots because this time the moon wasn't around. I thought I would be able to capture the stars better, but quickly gave up after a few mediocre attempts. It was interesting how different the environment was this time. Last time it was calm, barely any wind, a flat sea, and a huge moon. This time it was extremely windy, no moon in sight, and small, but crashing waves. Matthew and I decided to set up our chairs right on the water edge. It was kind of eerie, but in a beautiful transcendent and subconscious way. It was actually a little too transcendent because I started getting anxiety.

 The previous night I had a very intense and trippy dream. In it my brother, Finnley, and I were on a canoe going through a canal. At one point everything went pitch black and all I could do was hear and feel. I felt Finnley moving the boat forward with his hand. I felt him leaned over full arm’s length deep in the water pushing us forward. I was terrified that him doing that was going to tip the boat and was pleading with him not to. We all kept switching places in the boat. We reached a lake and the sky turned into a beautiful purple/blue cosmic galaxy of stars. It almost looked like a planetarium because it all looked so close and spherical. I felt so happy and started spinning the boat around and around really fast with the top half of my body hanging off. At one point we looked to the middle of the lake and there was a pair of women's feet rising from the water. We watched her rise until her whole nude body was exposed and anticipated seeing her face. When her face finally showed it was demonic, she flipped right side up and came toward me. I jumped into another dream thinking that the demon was stupid and why would she even try because I’m too close to God for her to ever get to me lolol!

And it only gets worse! In the next dream I was at what looked like my grandma's house. Finnley and I were there as well as this young teenage girl who was obsessed with Finnley. In the dream I didn't care because she was so young and for that I didn't find her threatening, but at one point she said something to me that pissed me off and I told her to go drown herself in the ocean. So basically she ran out the door to go down to the ocean in the backyard. Finnley and I start talking about it and I'm telling him to go get her, but we end up talking for so long that she succeeded. She came back as an evil spirit and burst through the door going inside everything and trying to attack us. The last thing I remember is throwing something heavy at her and her going inside a baby’s body and biting the crap out of my arm lolol!

So as you could imagine I was kind of in a weird mood that day especially being around the water and all. The weirdest part about the first dream was I felt like it was really one of those dreams that mean something. I felt a very direct connection between it and my consciousness. After all water is the dream symbol for a person’s consciousness. I just couldn't figure out what the heck it meant. Usually when I have dreams like that I know even before looking it up what they mean, but this one had me confused. It wasn't until the moment that Finnley and I sat at the water’s edge that night that I started putting pieces together. It had to do with my anxiety about growing up and moving forward in my life because regardless of how amazing and how much I love the present changes within me and the future changes I'm working towards, I'll never stop being nostalgic for what was once my fairytale. I was blessed with a life full of an abundance of love and the opportunity to be a child with no cares or worries about anything. For that I will forever wish and dream that I could just go back even if I understand that I must simply have gratitude and move forward.

I get anxiety a lot when I'm away from home because I'm yearning for that, but as I sat at Long Keys water edge I realized I have to let it go and so I sent it off into the ocean with a few figurative tears and sat back by the fire. Again affirming that sentiment I stared into the flames that are endlessly given birth by those before its ashes and coals; it was one of many moments (past, present, and future) of a rebirth of thought or at least an effort towards it. We went to bed soon after. I woke up all night as usual and I think I kept our neighbors up as well. The new sleeping pads were noisy as can be because I didn't put a blanket under them. Every time I tossed and turned I heard them wake up. Later the next day we found out the noise kept waking the wife up because she thought it was rats lol! Earlier the night before they came back and told us they saw rats at our other neighbors campsite and that they told them about giant rats on one of the Keys islands. 

I had to look these rats up and when I did I fell in love. I pretty much need a giant rat now, but thats another story for the future. Anyhow because of this and because I wake up and pee all throughout the night, every night I keep a little camp toilet outside of my tent so I don't have to walk all the way to the bathroom in the crack ass of night.  However if you walk by or are around my tent you may see my crack ass in the night and one time that night I woke up in my usual sleepy delirium and stuck my little bare butt out the tent and heard a man make a shocked noise. Now I don't know for sure if I subjected that poor man to such a strange site, but it sure sounded like it! 

Yet, I refuse to believe it and assume for the sake of my embarrassment that he just made that noise because his wife woke him up once again over her fear of rats (they usually camp in a RV if you didn't infer that already). By the way there is just nothing like waking up in the middle of the night bare assed and peeing while staring at the stars and listening to the ocean waves :-P. I highly recommend! At around 5:00am I woke up and looked out of the tent and everything had changed. Everything was so calm and quiet. There was no wind and the water was flat. There was a huge star straight ahead of me and it shone a white light on the water. There was also a large cruise ship out in the distance. It was a very beautiful and peaceful moment for me. After that I fell asleep like a baby until sunrise.

When I woke up again for sunrise the day was back to its windy ways, but boy was the sunrise a sight to be seen. The sky was glittered with clouds. I always think clouds enhance a sunrise and sunset, at least for pictures. After taking many we went back to sleep for an hour or two, despite our better judgment. When we finally got up Finnley made breakfast and I tried to help because the wind was making everything difficult. Afterwards we were feeling indecisive about what we should do and ended up talking to our neighbors again for a while. We were going to kayak again, but I was concerned about the wind being too strong. Instead we decided to do the 1mi nature trail on the North end of the park. I didn't think it was that long of a walk from our campsite to the start of the trail so we skipped along. We had no idea how long the actual trail was and Finnley was kind of concerned, but I knew it couldn't be much more than a mile.

 The weather turned out to be a pretty nice day. It was sunny most of the time and the wind died down slightly towards the afternoon. The water wasn't as clear and beautiful as the last time and it was cold so we didn't really get to go in. The hike was nice, we jogged through it a little and took pictures. By the time we got back to the camp site it was time to start packing up. It took us about 30 minutes to do everything. Before we left we took a stroll out into the water and frolicked around for a little. We left a couple minutes late and we were on the road. Traffic wasn't so bad this time in the Keys, but we had a little morale shattering stop when we got back on the turnpike. When I got home I felt a kind of relief to be off the road, but the sand still stuck between my toes summoned me back and you better believe I've booked Long Key for two more trips since!

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