The first time I went to Clearwater Beach I was 4 - we went to Florida to escape the snow in Michigan, and we stayed at a hotel in Clearwater Beach, then went to Disney World. I was with my grandparents, and my great grandmother. I remember the bowl of oranges on the dresser in our hotel room in Clearwater Beach, and walking to the bakery across the street with my grandma to buy napoleons in a rainstorm so windy I kept blowing over. At Disney I remember an orange scented candle, that Great thought my blue popsicle might be poisonous and made me throw it out, and that she thought the singing dolls in the Small World ride were real small people. Seeing the hotel again as an adult, it could be any hotel, any bakery.
My aunt and uncle hide from the snow for a month each spring, and this year my son and I flew to visit for a week. This trip I will remember more clearly, though Florida continues to impress me with odd moments, and mysterious connections.
We went on the biggest motorboat of some very specific type and saw dolphins, and my son got angry that we couldn't stay on the boat seeing dolphins forever, which sounds kind of ridiculous, but I felt the same. We went on the longest rollercoaster in Florida, and I screamed so hard I feel lucky to have survived. It was so fast and overwhelming that it took me until the second hill to turn my head and make sure my kid was ok on his first rollercoaster ever. He was, and we shook for hours after just thinking about it. He ordered alligator bits at a restaurant, and went swimming at least five times a day.
Days without big plans I woke up, went for a run to scout photo locations, and later walked the same routes taking pictures, then spent the rest of the day with my family. I had to hole up in a beachside bar one day for an hour while a storm passed, and saw the crew show up to remove the chairs and umbrellas from the beach before they were blown away. Near our room on a fairly busy road were adirondack chairs set up in front of a mural of adirondack chairs on the beach. There were trashcans full of palm fronds, and long birds seemed to sprout from the grass. I saw a man praying in the median, on his knees in the sun. I saw penis trees and impossible looking flowers, and one golden lawn mermaid.
I took a lot of pictures, and it was nice to have time and space to take pictures of one of my favorite subjects - things around. Things around are interesting, and boring, a delight.
At home the weather is shaping up and I'm back in the familiar zone of shoulder high ferns and mountains and secret trails through the forest. After a slow re-entry to normal life, the springyness of spring is here, and driving everything faster and faster, days blurring into weeks, and projects and jobs queuing up - but that's what spring is, and I'm happy to be home.