The marvels of life

There are admittedly many marvels of life. Those of mine indisputably include swimming in the sea as I did earlier today. Although the swimming pool is a mere 100 yards from where I now sit, the allure of the sea is for me irresistible. It does however oblige me to mount my tricycle and pedal along the shaded laneway approximately 0.5 Km to where there is a white stone pathway between the row of townhouses bordering the sea enabling me to penetrate to the small private beach.

Looking out to sea across the table of glimmering water towards the Gulf of Mexico (over what is more immediately dubbed Buttonwood Sound) are a series of keys.

The more popular name, simply the Keys, is derived from the Spanish word Cayo (“small island”). The Florida Keys are a chain of islands that extend from the southern tip of the Florida mainland southwest to the Dry Tortugas, a distance of around 220 miles (352 km). Like much of the rest of Florida, the foundation of the Keys is limestone rock. There is no denying that the marine environment of the Florida Keys is special. We admire its sparkling turquoise color and refreshing temperatures.

The Keys are made up of ancient coral reefs (Upper Keys) and sand bars (Lower Keys) that existed when the sea level was much higher during the Pleistocene Epoch, 125,000 years ago. During the last ice age (100,000 years ago) sea level dropped, exposing the coral reefs and sand bars, which over time became the fossil and rock that makes up the island chain today. As glaciers and polar ice caps started melting 15,000 years ago, the land flooded, shaping the Keys we know today.

Many of the keys are shown on Google Maps as “Unavailable” forming part of the Florida Everglades National Park. Those intermingled land masses or reefs of various sizes and shapes form Whipray Basin, Florida Bay and Rabbit Key Basin which snuggle a mass of sea water between the southern limit of Florida and the Florida Keys.

The buoyancy of the sea water is among its several virtues. If it were not for the wind today, causing the water to billow and roll, I could easily have floated upright for hours as in fact I have done on other occasions. Instead to spare myself the complication of digesting sea water, I alternated between floating both upright and spreadeagled then swimming and diving beneath the surface towards the sandy bottom.  I always keep my eyes open when underwater. I find the salt water improving.  The cooler water today additionally relieved my aching limbs from what is an unassailable affliction.

Although there is an outdoor shower adjacent the beach for those inclined to rid themselves of the stain of salt water after swimming, I prefer not to do so.  Instead I find that lingering with the maritime cosmetic affords the thinnest film of what is the most minute granular footprint combined with a moderately oily but clean sensation. I especially like the soothing dryness of the salt residue on my hands. In a word I have always found salt water to be purifying.

My venture in the sea was complemented by a deliberate act of physical exercise. I exceeded my normal 4.81 Km Outdoor Cycle by prolonging the workout to 7.35 Km. It was easily accomplished not only because it is not far but notably for me because it is at sea level. There are no obstructing changes of elevation. Several days ago I invited the retailer who sold me my tricycle to examine a grinding noise in the right rear axle. He identified it as a trifling adjustment which he proceeded to effect. In the result I have the benefit of employment of a new toy which works properly. This I somewhat hesitantly confess captures the simplicity of my life on the Florida Keys. I accept my limitations and the inescapable corollaries of nature. Nor am I being casuistic when I say so. Increasingly I am having to face the accommodations of living, an experience which is paradoxically aligned with other more favourable circumstances. It therefore pleases me to account not what I consider the evaporations of life but rather the marvels of life.