La Michelle Rouge assures me that hurricanes never--"Never"--smite the southwest coast of Florida. They might devastate the rest of the state, she insists, but not our section of the Gulf. She offers one reason after another as to why typhoons never smash here and, with a laugh, she dismisses all such concern as mere canary chatter; as unworthy of further intelligent discourse; such an event, she implies, is less likely to happen than Martians landing on nearby Siesta Key and mating with manatees. Hmmmm.
Anyway, we spent some time on Venice Island this week. The place is lovely; the beach, the town; left such a truly tropical impression on us both, in fact, that we might mosey down soon and never leave; move there before the summer sun scorches our backs black here in the gator- and skeeter-infested in-lands. There is a free and easy feel to the island with its little shaded shops, slow pace, draw bridges, sail boats, palms, and white sands. It looks like heaven. It smells like heaven. It sounds like heaven. It must be heaven. But then my mind begins to work. . . .
Venice Island is a foot above sea level, giver take a few feet . . . hurricane season looms . . . 30 foot waves . . . ten foot storm surges . . . Mike and Michelle eight feet under, giver take a few feet . . . . Despite what my Florida-know-it-all suggests, I am not convinced; at first word of Hurricane Tiffany, Hurricane Marvin, Hurricane LaShonTrelle, or Hurricane Ed in the area, me and French Red are skedaddling for higher ground, pronto quicko. Once safely ensconced, we will find a cafe, I will order crow, and the hurricane authority can enjoy her lunch. But no way am I getting caught in a hurricane here just because some Pittsburgh transplant tells me it's "simply not gonna happen."
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. . . . In addition to virtually every farm critter known to man, there are hosts of wild and semi-wild creatures in this jungle abode of ours. I have mentioned some of these before, but here is a small sampling of what I have seen in the past few days of bike riding: Buzzards by the bunch; owls (one literally jumped out of a tree right next to me last night--so intent on his prey was he that I do not think he ever did notice me on the bike); Ibis by the score, their curved beaks preening the ground for I know not what; snowy Egrets too; same with the Osprey screaming that awful shriek; a wild turkey silently creeping in the bush as I glide by; two Bald Eagles just overhead and low to the ground; in fact, the eagles must have just raided some nests since two Osprey were chasing and harassing them. We also have a surplus of lizards here. I have been places where there are lizards aplenty, but there are a mess of 'em here, sho nuff. Little things, mostly, and leapin' lizards, too; they jump from palmetto to palmetto like Tarzan swings from vine to vine. Seems, in fact, that the nervous little reptiles would rather leap than scoot. And they are always fighting with one another; territorial tussles, I suppose, tho diet may have something to do with it--Michelle once saw the tail of a smaller sticking out of the mouth of a larger . . . Hmmmm.
Face Lifts Gone Wrong