Thursday, July 20, 2017

#129 Watch The Sun Set And Rise In One Day

Life has most of us running non stop. Life has many of us stressed out, tapped out and maxed out. And in the midst of life's chaotic whirlwind, we may find ourselves misplacing the person we once were, becoming another lost soul, another forgotten identity. We may not even realize just how much we have allowed ourselves to become absorbed into the atmosphere and abyss of our day to day lives. You may very well wake up one day and ask yourself "What the hell happened?" "Who the hell have I become?"

Not all Bucket List items have to be grand adventures, risky endeavors or elaborate travels. Sometimes we need to add goals to our lists that we may take for granted on a daily basis. Sometimes we need to add character building goals, enrichment goals and baby step goals to our lists. Sometimes we need to add reminders to our list. Reminders of who we truly are deep down inside. Reminders that call out to our souls, bringing us back to ourselves.

I understand some people are very Anti-Bucket List and that is all good. Different strokes for different folks. I understand some people do not write down their goals. Rather, they keep a mental list. I envy those people a little because sometimes I forget my own birth date. I have to write stuff down. Anyways, for me, this list is very close to my heart. This list is a necessity for my own well being. Will I accomplish all of it? Hell no. LOL! There is no way. I'm not a Millionaire. I'm not even a Hundred Thousandnaire. Not even close.

But, when the demons start filling my head and the light goes dim the end of the tunnel, which is something I will battle for the rest of my life, I look at this list and say hey, this little one right here, I can do this one. Let's get off our ass and do it. Let's create our own light in this dark tunnel. And you know works. Don't get me wrong. I love my life and would not trade places with anyone for anything. I mean that too. The power of the blessings in my life will always overcome the power of my hardships, no matter how exhausted they make me.

I love the woman I have become. I am proud of her. I don't want to be anybody but her. Am I hard on her sometimes? Sure. I have to be. But I adore her too. And no matter how hard anyone tries, and they do try, I will never let someone make me feel bad about myself ever again. I'm too strong. I've been through too much. And, I survived it all, on my own. Once I figured out how to create my own light, I knew I was gonna be just fine. I know what to do now when the demons outstay their welcome. No one has to understand but me.

So here is where we start this one.

Sunrise. Sunset. Many of us have seen the sun set and rise a thousand times.

Many of us have taken the time to appreciate both of these magnificent events numerous times.

I know this. Every year hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of sunrises and sunsets fill my Facebook feed. And I love every single photo posted. These stunning photos fill me with warmth, positive vibes and hope for the human race. The beauty of these photos encourage pause in my day by interrupting the spinning of my brain for a few moments. Lord knows I am so grateful for those pauses.

Each photo breathes a calmness into me that is much needed. My life is not an easy one, never has been really, so I do make every effort to stop and smell the roses every opportunity I can. The little things in life are a huge part of who I am as a person. The challenges and hardships I face in this life will not defeat me as long as I have sweet, wonderful, little things to appreciate and enjoy. Yes, how I handle the challenges and hardships is also a huge part of who I am but the little things are a big reason why I am a happy person in spite of what this life throws at me.

People watch the sun set and the sun rise over a 24 hour period daily, especially in the winter. The purpose for adding this goal to my Bucket List was simple. I wanted to enjoy and admire both of these beautiful events within a 24 hour period to the fullest, rather than while driving to and from work. I wanted to leisurely witness the sun crawl under the blanket of the western horizon, then arise from the covers of the eastern horizon.

Sometimes I will fall asleep on one side of the bed, then wake up sprawled out diagonally across the bottom of the bed completely opposite from where I first fell asleep. I never remember how that comes to be but I always wake befuddled by this phenomena. I mean how can I not know that I moved that much in my sleep? This weird sleeping event, although rare, usually occurs in the summer months. This paragraph also has absolutely nothing to do with this blog.

I did not have a specific place planned for where this goal was to be achieved but I knew it had to be attempted in spring, summer or fall. Winter was too easy and, too cold. Honestly though, this goal was too easy to accomplish in any season, or so I thought. Can you believe I've attempted to achieve this goal several times unsuccessfully? I could not get my ass out of bed the morning after the sunset. I have always been a night owl at heart but there are phases of my life where I become this crazy, awake before the birds, morning person and I love it!

It doesn't last long, usually happens in the spring and autumn for a few weekends, but I love it. I enjoy being a morning person but it is just not natural to me. Maybe when I am a senior citizen I will become a morning person. I hope so! Anyways, I did not plan on accomplishing this goal while in Key West, it kind of just happened naturally and unexpectedly. No one was more shocked than me when I found myself wide awake before the sun rose the morning after a long and exciting day of driving the Overseas Highway, stopping at several Keys, watching the sunset in Mallory Square, then going for a late night swim.

I just woke up naturally. I felt amazing too. I was not at all groggy. I was only going on 5 hours sleep but I felt great. I decided to go sit on my second floor balcony and watch the sunrise. But, let's talk about the sunset first. That was totally planned. Everyone I knew that had visited Key West had "Sunset from Mallory Square" as a must do recommendation for my visit to Key West.

Mallory Square
Sunset is a wonderful reason to celebrate!

I can understand now, why it was so highly recommended. Mallory Square is just a cool, cool place. Shops, kiosks, and stands offering goods and foods surround the perimeter of the square. The square itself was a huge, wide open space paved with brick and stone. Performers, artisans, craft stands, fortune tellers and tons of roosters were scattered about the square. I am pretty sure the roosters were there to watch the sunset too. I mean, they are locals so obviously they knew the best spots on the island to watch the sunset.

Mallory Square was the place to be. How could so many roosters be wrong? Hundreds of people and roosters wandered the square, mulling about, checking out the action. I spotted a rooster standing in line waiting for his fortune to be read. Seriously! A lady was reading someone their cards and this rooster was standing in line, watching intently, as the women spoke about the cards she had drawn. It was hilarious!

Some of the hens and chicks of Mallory Square.

We made our way over to the little wall by the water. People were perched up and down this wall for what seemed like a mile. We found a spot near a railing to stand. We gazed out into the water and the sky. Directly across from us sat Sunset Key.  The name was perfect because from Mallory Square, it seemed as if the sun was going to sink into the island itself. Sailboats were making their way into the waters between Mallory Square and Sunset Key. They were beautiful boats, some with huge masts.

All of a sudden we heard this loud splash. We turn around to see a teenage girl had fallen off the wall and into the water near a little bridge that connected the square to a hotel. Thankfully she could swim and was laughing about it. I was a little envious of her because the water was completely turquoise, just like that of a swimming pool rather than an ocean. It must have felt so refreshing. Once we all knew she was okay, we turned our attention back to the sky.

The water was seriously this color. I could not take my eyes off of it!

The sun was a gigantic yellow ball of fire slowly descending from the sky. It was huge! It turned the entire sky surrounding it a deep golden hue. I have never seen the sun look more glorious than it was in that moment. It was beyond breathtaking. I snapped a few pictures but knew they would not do the moment any justice. If you have ever witnessed the sun setting over Key West you would understand just how spectacular it can be.

We stood there for ten minutes, watching the slow descent. Once the sun kissed the top of the treeline of Sunset Key, it was the perfect opportunity to depart Mallory Square and watch the sky turn it's gorgeous pink and grey from the Overseas Highway. As we walked out of the square and back through the shops and attractions. it was like we had Key West to ourselves. It was a ghost town. Everyone was still in the square. It was so cool!

Key West

Sunset Key

Mallory Square

The huge beautiful sun, setting over Sunset Key. What a spectacular sight!

We made our way back to the car and headed back the the hotel. The sky was just beautiful. The pink and the palm trees made for a beautiful sunset. I felt so at peace. I felt so happy. The highway did not have much traffic on it which was also nice. We stopped at a Publix then grabbed a pizza at the hotel. We finished the beautiful evening by admiring the night sky from the pool at our hotel. What a perfect day!

I love swimming at night!
I don't know if the night swim had both relaxed and revitalized me at the same time but I slept wonderfully and woke feeling 4:30 in the morning. That never happens. I guess when you have no worries and stresses and are in a beautiful place making one of your dreams come true, your mind calms down and can focus on just being happy and serene. Why couldn't every day be like this I thought.

I decided to slip out the sliding glass doors onto the balcony to enjoy the darkness before the light. I sat in the lounge chair listening to the sounds of a few creatures that call Sugarloaf Key home. I was so contented. My breathing was good. My head was uncluttered. My soul was peaceful. I grabbed my phone from the room and began looking at all the picture I had taken of the previous day. The smile on my face was so pure and genuine.

My photo gazing was interrupted by the sound of a splash in the water. I looked up to see a faint light creeping into the dark sky. I could see water rippling in the middle of the canal. Then I heard another splash. Then another. Finally I caught a glimpse of a big fish jumping out of the water. Guess he was trying to catch bugs hovering near the water. I sat there, amused, trying to catch more and more glimpses of this fish.

The sun was now rising over the canal. The clouds were shadowed a dark grey color. They hung above a deep pink horizon near the water. The pink of the horizon faded into a pale golden color the further the sky rose from the water line. The gold was topped with almost a translucent white before turning into a grayish blue. As the sky lightened, the reflection of the clouds lay upon the water as if it were an unblemished mirror.

It appeared as if the entire sky, with all of it's stunning colors, was actually underneath the water, that is how perfectly still the canal waters were. I could not take my eyes off of this spectacular view. I was entranced and enchanted with every single fabulous detail surrounding this sunrise. Occasionally the big fish would make another leap out of the water, and there were a few little circular ripples near the edge of the canal, perhaps turtles or little fish, but other than that, there wasn't a single stir.

As the day grew lighter, I could see an egret walking along the marshes in the middle of the canal. Another one soon joined him. Perhaps they were looking for little fishes hiding in the sea grass. I guess there were parts of the canal further out, where the egrets were standing that were not deep. I know the water right next to the hotel was very deep. It dropped off immediately. It had to be at least 30 feet but maybe even deeper. You could not see the bottom at all. I am also not an expert in gauging water depth so 30 feet was just a random number that popped in my head.

Sugarloaf Key

Sugarloaf Key

Sugarloaf Key

Sugarloaf Key

Watching the sunrise in Sugarloaf Key. Nothing short of gorgeous!

Eventually both kiddos made their way onto the patio, also amazed that I was awake so early. We all took some time to admire the beauty of the sunrise. It was almost 6:00 am by this point. I sat outside a little longer. I did not want this moment to end. To experience both the sunset and sunrise in one of the most beautiful places I had ever visited was so incredible to me. Unwittingly, I had accomplished another bucket list item. I love those ones that sneak up on you unexpectedly. They are sometimes the best accomplishments.

We started getting ready for another day of adventures. We had a buoy to visit and more of Key West to experience. We headed down to the Tiki Bar for some very good complimentary coffee and hot chocolate. I could not wait to take in more of the atmosphere and culture of the Florida Keys. It had been an incredible journey thus far. I was making memories and moments I will never forget for the rest of my life. The sunrises and sunsets in this life I call my own I will not take for granted ever again.

The Florida Keys Chronicles- My Adventures


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