Up early again. Enjoying my Colombian coffee, feet up, in the tiny living room. Still dark. The days have been pretty ordinary, and I’m grateful for these ordinary graces.
I decided to drive to a different beach so I packed my car and set out about 9am. I couldn’t find the first beach access indicated on the map, so I ended up at the beach on Tarpon Bay Road. Parking was a quarter of a mile away so I decided to carry just the chair and beach bag – no umbrella – pay for one hour of parking, and see if I liked this beach.
There were a few more people on this beach, and more families had arrived by the time I left. The water was warm and calm, brownish in the shallow parts, dark blue farther out in the Gulf. I did water aerobics for close to an hour. I returned to the parking lot to pay for another hour, and decided not to bring the umbrella back with me to the beach. There are four or five picnic tables in a shaded area before you access the beach. Luckily, in this off-season, they were all available. I decided to sit in the shade and read for a while, before going back in the water. Another 45 minutes of water aerobics – really, just jumping around in chest-deep water!
When I returned to the Sand Dollar, it was time for a shower, lunch, and a nap. I finished reading Homes. Now, I am re-reading Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson (Bloomsbury, 2018). The book jacket describes Climate Justice as “an urgent call to arms by one of the most important voices in the international fight against climate change, sharing inspiring stories and offering vital lessons for the path forward.” There are more than ten of these stories. Climate Justice is our book club selection for September. I couldn’t find a discussion guide online, so I made one up. Among the suggested questions, I asked readers to highlight one or two of the stories they found most inspiring.
All of the stories resonated with me, and served as a call to action. However, two stand out. The first is the story of Sharon Hanshaw from Mississippi, whose campaign pos-Katrina began in her East Biloxi hair salon and culminated in her speaking at the United Nations. She and other residents set up Coastal Women for Change (CWC) after post-Katrina’s federal relief failed them.
The second story is that of Anote Tong, former president of the tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati (pronounced keer-i-bas in the local language). Following the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, Anote Tong returned to his people to tell them that Kiribati was in peril of being engulfed by the sea. And, that the rest of the world was not interested or not serious about addressing rising sea levels. “At some point within this century, the water will be higher than the highest point in our lands,” Tong said. In 2014, Tong purchased about 6,000 acres of forested land on Fiji’s second-largest island, 1,000 miles away. He anticipates having to evacuate his entire nation to another place.
A few months after reading the story of Kiribati, I saw an episode of “Madam Secretary” with the theme of climate change. With specific details changed, it was the story of Kiribati, a small, low-lying Pacific island nation at risk of being completely engulfed by the surrounding sea. The TV drama accelerated the timeline, but in the end the whole nation had to be evacuated and the island completely disappeared. I would not have believed the story line of “Madam Secretary” had I not just read about Kiribati in Climate Justice.
I continued reading until it was time for Saturday Mass at St. Isabel Catholic Church. More reading afterward while I enjoyed fish tacos at the Sanibel Fish House. I also enjoyed a glass of Argentinian Malbec with dinner.
I have begun editing my photographs and find a few that I am quite happy with. One discovery: sea grapes in August are purple! I’ve only ever seen sea grape when the fruit green. These pink and purple and green clusters are an amazing surprise! Seagrape, coccolobe uvifera, is a species of flowering plant in the buckwheat family, which is native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean, including southern Florida. Seagrape gets its common name from the clusters of red, grape-like fruits that the female plants produce
Q. Did you know that the fruits of the seagrape may be eaten raw, cooked into jellies and jams, or fermented into seagrape wine? For me, I limit myself to photographing seagrape!