Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

God's Magnificent Paintbrush

Anyone who lives in Florida is blessed with so many evening skies swished and smudged with hues of every shade of oranges, pinks, and purples as the sun descends to meet the horizon. Sunsets are every ounce peaceful and glorious to observe no matter the amount of brilliance and colors. Getting to see one from a mountain top or a coastal shoreline is especially breathtaking.

We don't have mountains here but we have plenty of shoreline... on three sides of the state as a matter of fact. We happen to live on the gulf coast side where one doesn't even have to be at the beach to view spectacular illuminations at nighfall.

Even though we admittedly have many dazzling sunsets there are only those few that are spectacularly outstanding above the rest ... the ones that come along only once in a while. Yesterday was one of those times.

Mr. Meems and I were on a day long field trip. It was our plan, after a full day of exploration in Myakka City, to make sure we were heading toward the coast for dinner in time to see the sun go down. I'll post about the rest of the day another time. But for now the last hour (or so) of the daylight we witnessed deserves an entire post.

All was going according to schedule. We both commented on the beauty of the sky as we made the turn due West onto Fruitville Rd, still 45 minutes from the shoreline that was our destiny. At 5:08 I took the above photo from the passenger's seat. With the sun still high above the horizon, it was evident we had picked a very good day to drive to the Gulf of Mexico to take in the evening sky.

6:01 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24

It was one of those times when one has to wonder... is there a more lovely place on earth?
Every element was like we imagine when making a plan to visit the beach. The temperature was perfect... in the low 60's. And as we drove over the first bridge in Sarasota where one gets the first glimpse of open water, palm trees, birds, and boats of every kind making the most of the last minutes of the day, it was (and is everytime) just so exhilerating.
6:02 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24
It was time for dinner and we were pretty hungry. Both of us knew we absolutely wanted to be on the shoreline breathing in this radiance as an end to our day rather than watching it from a restaurant which was the other option.

6:04 p.m. a view to the south
Every surface of the earth was washed in color as far as the eye could see. The water was as still and calm as any quiet day on the Gulf coast.
6:07 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24
Accompanied by Mr. Meems, the softly lapping shoreline, the shorebirds foraging for their evening meal, I snapped away applying all my effort to hopefully capture even the slightest essence of the brilliance of God's remarkable and faithful handiwork.
6:07 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24

6:14 p.m. A view to the north.

6:12 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24

I couldn't help but wonder was the whole earth aglow with the same sunset that made it seem as if the sky was on fire? Or was it just like this at Longboat Key?
6:15 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24
Had we been staying on the beach with the whole night to ourselves, wild horses couldn't have dragged me away until every glimmer of color was faded.

6:19 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24

But this particular night, reminding myself we were heading home, I did my best to walk away knowing there was dinner waiting... telling myself I could still see the sunset from the restaurant.

6:27 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24
Even as we drove back south over the bridge that leaves the Key, the moment to moment changing horizon was compelling me to snap again and again not wanting to miss anything.

6:36 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24

From the east side of the bridge we had just come across and the view from our table in the outdoor eating area, I'm balking at having to stop to look down at a menu.
6:44 p.m. Longboat Key, FL, January 24
When the night herons began to wake up and start their fishing the sky was still shining with deep shades of glory.
It's good to notice the beauty that nature has so generously placed around us. And, might I say, it's very inexpensive. These days of uncertainty in our nation can be overwhelming at times if we lose perspective. The TRUTH is ... the earth is the Lord's ... I'm going to keep thinking those happy thoughts. I'm going to keep taking a minute here and an hour there and sometimes even a day to stop and breathe in the graceful wonders that are at my fingertips and I'm going to be more grateful for them.
Florida is a great place to do that!
O Lord my God, how great you are!... You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens... You made the moon to mark the seasons... and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night... There is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind... May the glory of the Lord continue forever! ... The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!... I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!
Adapted from Psalm 104


Ehrenfelds said...

BEAUTIFUL! I cannot wait for April...we are planning on seeing some of that for ourselves. Its amazing how His masterpieces are available daily for viewing by anyone who takes the time. Thanks for sharing His work.

marmee said...

oh this is what i am talking about, i need one of these days ordered up while i am there visiting. or a few of these days. how amazing are these colours in the sky that we get to partake in absolutely free. i love it. breathtaking photos!

Patricia said...

Truly stunning photography, Meems. Even from Pollywog Creek, we have been having the most magnificent sunsets lately - nothing like being right on the water, though. We are incredibly blessed. Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island are our favorite beaches. For years, Louis and I stayed at Rolling Waves Cottages for our anniversary.

Meems said...

Tara, April is a beautiful month in Florida, too, although as you know it can get hot and humid by then. You probably will welcome hot and humid coming from where you are though. You must be counting down the days... I know your mom misses you and she is probably counting too.

Marmee, Okay the order is in... I think you've picked the perfect time to visit!

Patricia, Thank you. Our lives continue to parallel. Mr. Meems and I have stayed on LBK every year for the past 17 years a block away from those cottages. LBK is our very favorite beach in all of Florida... Captiva Isalnd running a close second. But Shhhhh.... don't tell anyone... we like the quiet. :-)

gigi said...

quite a contrast to your previous couple of posts! it is good to remember even in the worst of times, that God still occupies His throne and will continue His covenant with us eternally! thank you for the uplifting word you included from Psalm 104. i just had an e-mail from a friend who got word from her company today, that 8000 jobs will be gone by 03/09. she is single, self-supporting and about to panic! i had already sent her some encouraging word, but i am also going to refer her to your blog. it seems especially timely and reassuring and peaceful!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Beautiful shots!!!I love Longboat Key!
When you see the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico,you know there is a God in Heaven!
Can we ever take enough pictures?

Rissalee said...

Wow. As I read through your post, I kept saying, "Ooh! That's my favorite picture!" But then I'd see another and think, "No, that one!" and on and on it went...all so pretty. Thanks for sharing them with us, and I'm glad you and "Mr. Meems" (love that!) got to see them in person.

Gail said...

Dear meems,

A beautiful post...you have a gift. You're writing and your photos enhance each other. I told Mr I that a trip south was desperately needed! This will do for now!


Meems said...

gigi: Mom,
Those are good things to remember. There is always another side to worst... crossing over the bridge to the other side might not be easy but it can be done! Keeping a positive outlook NO MATTER the situation is probably the first step.

Sunsets and all the enormous beauty around us should serve to spur us on if we'll just take the time to notice.

Chris C and John J,
Funny question. It seems "I" can never take enough pictures... does everyone have that tendency? LOL Thank God for digital... no film to pay for... I can just snap away until my memory card is full... then I just stick in the next one. Too easy.

Rissa Lee,
That's exactly how I felt as I was snapping away. Between our oooo's and ahhhh's I'd think "oh, I already got those colors and that angle" but the sky changes so fast at that time of day I wanted to be sure I didn't miss any of it. Thanks for your comment... I'm glad you liked the photos.

Thank you... you are always so encouraging in your words. Really good to see you over here. You are after all an ex-Floridian. Wouldn't it be nice if you could make a trip down. Marmee is coming in a couple of weeks - maybe you could hitch a ride in her luggage! LOL I'll keep the photos of my beautiful state coming just in case you don't make it. *grinning with you*

Susan said...

Meems...Are you sure you don't work for the Chamber of Commerce or the Florida Tourism Board? Your photos are exceptional - absolutely gorgeous! I hope your meal was just as exceptional.

Pat said...

Oh my. Can there possibly be a more better than Longboat Key place to watch the sunset?
We are so blessed!

Leedra said...

I just wandered across your blog, and think you hooked me with this one post. It is all so gorgeous. We have 4 weeks of time share at St Pete Beach, and don't ever trade them. How can the Gulf beaches be beat? We will be in St Pete in 2 weeks for one of the weeks.

Leedra’s Photos For Fun
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NT said...

Awesome post meems. Your photography is out of this world, truly great stuff. I could smell the sea.

Meems said...

We ate at a casual place that serves inside and outside on the intercoastal. It was very good and the evening was mild enough to eat outside which is always my preference.

We do love our LBK!

I think I've seen you over at my sister, Marmee's blog. So glad you found us and happy to have you along. There isn't any other beaches like the gulf beaches truly. You picked a great time to come to Florida. February is such mild weather.

Thanks for the kudos. It means a lot to me for you to visit... love the smell of the sea same as you... nothing like it.

islandgal246 said...

Stunning Meems just stunning!! I just cannot find the words to describe your photos. They show the drama at the end of day with a promise of tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pictures of the greatest state in the Union. I know I'm a little late to be posting a comment, but photos like these of hues only imaginable are worth comment. These shots bring me a little closer to home as I am living in Africa.

Gerri Beckerman said...

The sunset photos are spectacular!