Cheerless and solitary have not been the customary attributes of Key Largo during our six-month stay here. But on the precipice of the near evacuation of Buttonwood Bay at the uttermost end of the season it sadly seems apt. My first clue was that I didn’t get out of bed today until almost noon. Three cups of coffee drunk late yesterday morning apparently sustained me until four o’clock this morning before I succumbed to fatigue. As well two successive days of constant sometimes heavy rainfall and menacing cloudy skies quelled my once characteristic eagerness to tricycle and sunbathe. And, second, after I finished my breakfast at three o’clock this afternoon I went for a purgative tricycle ride about the lonely neighbourhood then a swim in the pool where there were only two couples lounging beneath the grey sky, looking remarkably white and forgotten. It’s time to go home.
During my bicycle ride I encountered a chap with whom I have spoken in the past. He informed me that he leaves for Minnesota tomorrow morning. Like many others he drives to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, possibly abandons his vehicle at the airport for cartage home, then flys off. As he faded onto the Island he blurted, “Goodbye. See you next year!”
Meanwhile I have been devoting myself to the equally uncommon duty of connecting with people back home. No doubt the impending return to native territory has sparked the application. This is not to suggest that during the past ½ year we haven’t kept in touch with friends and acquaintances but clearly the preoccupation has been less than intense. Frankly the motive for communication is tainted by the lack of immediate purpose; and, one can only imagine that others in the north may tire of hearing about the compelling allure of azure skies, turquoise sea and astronomic temperatures. The other reality is that, since having carried on this bi-annual exchange between Canada and the United States of America over the past ten years, we’ve unwittingly diminished the clarity of many of our former acquaintances and friendships apart from sustaining the typical Christmas card type of update.