the First Day of Spring – the Last Day of Winter

The global Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll in many ways.  Though our particular circumstance does not warrant especial sympathy, there are regrets. At the instance of the Canadian government and our medical insurers, tomorrow we reluctantly depart for Canada from our beloved Longboat Key. Paradoxically today is not only the first day of spring, it is the last day of our winter vacation concluded exactly one month earlier than anticipated.

In 2020, the spring equinox (also called the March equinox or vernal equinox) occurs on Thursday, March 19, which is earlier than it’s been in over a century! This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

I didn’t hesitate when taking my last bicycle ride this morning to determine to lay on the beach by the sea.  It was a perfect day – cloudless blue sky, high temperatures and only a light breeze! There was no way I was not going to swim in the beautiful emerald sea on last time before our departure.

Noticeably the traffic throughout the island was less than normal.  I know for a fact that many of the residents here have already returned to their northern seats or intend to do so within the next few days. There is an inescapable sense of intrusion by remaining here.  While reclining on the beach I saw a helicopter fly parallel to the shore; it gave me the clear impression it was recording the occupants on the beach.  I may be mistakenly suspicious but the feeling of social violation by lingering here is for whatever reason not far below the surface.

Most of the other people on the beach – and there were not many – were either young couples or young families, all of whom were white enough to suggest they were new arrivals and likely here for a short stay only.

As I rotated atop my Polo shirt, regarding the sea in the distance, I imagined how differently I might respond if I were not leaving tomorrow. Knowing that something is coming to an end one understandably relishes the remaining time. The heat of the day compelled me to swim in the sea several times.  Oddly the water has still not that soupy warmth which characterized it upon our arrival last October. But the water was refreshing and I had no trouble remaining immersed for a considerable length of time. I cherished the saltiness of the sea upon my lips.

Earlier while sitting briefly on the bench in Bayfront Park overlooking Sarasota Bay for the last time I telephoned our estate agency in Key Largo to enquire about cancellation policies affecting our current contract commencing October 31st next for the upcoming season.  The telephonist said she would refer my enquiry to an agent. To my delight an agent called me upon my return to the apartment.  She advised we can cancel with only a modest administration fee up to sixty days prior to commencement of the term of the rental contract. Our immediate concern arises from the possibility that the long-term medical insurers have advised that they will not issue policies if the Coronavirus pandemic continues. This is a risk impossible for us to ignore.

Florida faces challenges regularly, whether from hurricanes, tornadoes, red tide or infectious disease. We have either directly or indirectly been involved with these unpredictable and random circumstances – complicated by my own medical emergencies. If one is to judge by the past, the Floridians have succeeded to rise above their dilemmas. Coincidentally the properties in Key Largo are among those which have notably improved as a result of prior disasters.

After I left the beach and repositioned myself upon my trusty Sun bicycle (which we’re obliged to leave here), I took one last look at what has been my preferred beach resort throughout the winter. The gem colours afford an unforgettable image! Some clouds upon the horizon were beginning to move across the sky. We intend to spend our last evening here dining in the apartment, consuming an ad hoc combination of our remaining food provisions. Our plan is to be in the car and motoring northward when the sun rises tomorrow.