So, we walked at Green Cay, again. Love the place. People smile. Some workout by walking around and around. Mostly, people want to see an alligator.
Here’s a baby. Mom swam nearby. Several other babies hid in the reeds. A woman standing next to me, photographing with a cell phone complained: “…, hard to get this shot; he has the same coloring at the grass.”
“Yup, I replied, “and it only took 200 million years.” She didn’t laugh, but others did.
So, for a couple of weeks we haven’t been going out. Holidays have brought friends and relatives to the Sunshine State to escape the unpredictable weather in places north and west. The economy needs them; the environment doesn’t.
A little before noon, a New Englander approached me as I shot in the swamp at the nearby US Wildlife Preserve, Loxahatchee. Identifying himself as a hunter and lobsterman, he asked me if I had seen anything alive. No doubt he meant animals and reptiles who, as an outdoorsman would undoubtedly know, don’t come out in the heat of day. And besides, why would they come out when people were in their home. This isn’t a zoo; it’s a swamp.
Without going into the particulars of my response, let’s just say I pointed to the greenery around us, I noted that swamps were locations full of life and full of death. My simple answer which this image supports is “Yes.”
Believe it or not, the garbage collection here is pretty picky. Need to reduce cardboard to 3×3 size and they don’t take blank newsprint. We had to take it, ourselves, to the recycling plant. Not a bid deal, this time. It’s right around the corner from where we live. In FL, around the corner is 15 minutes.
FL takes recycling seriously. State of the art facilities. Recycling isn’t mandatory, a loophole for people who don’t like regulations. Talked to one the other day, a neighbor. He said that he didn’t recycle carefully: “it doesn’t work because so many people don’t do it.”
No plastic bags.
Now that we have unpacked most of our boxes, we can get into a routine, again.
So, Burt Shavitz died at 80. Another photographer dead, before I could talk with him. I’d like to know what he saw, why he shot what he shot and why he gave it up. I will have to settle for the movie, Burt’s Buzz. And Burt, he probably would not have been too much fun to talk with, even though he was a great man with a big personality who chafed at uniformity and changed the world.
Me. I turned 68 today. I’m alive and well. Couldn’t be happier, as my past drifts farther and farther into the long ago. My wife loves me. Don’t need much more than that.
Who’s Burt? He’s the guy on the box, at least partially. Everyone knows Burt, from his face. But before he made lip balm and other holistic products, he was a photographer who shot the Civil Rights movement, in addition to the street. Another one of those Jewish guys with the photojournalist gene who left the world better than he found it.
Tired of the rigamarole, he moved to Maine, raised some bees and made cosmetics which could be sold to hippies in health food stores. He cared about the environment and hated hypocrisy. Died rich, despite not needing money. He had land and a family. Me, I got no family, except for Sharon and her relatives. Failed living in the Northern New England way. I have toys to play with and a place to live. Still have some friends, though even though they aren’t close by. Now, I just need to be healthy.
So, always good to leave the world better than you found it, however you do it. Don Featherstone, a man whose name you don’t know, did. His art graces lawns from here to everywhere, unless you live in a gated community where uniformity trumps art. You see the plastic forms and without knowing why, you feel better about life. And, we owe the feeling to some guy who, one day, sitting at work, in a plastics factory, far away from the Everglades, but obviously close to Wonderland, created a flamingo.
A guy stopped me as I shot. “Not a good day for photos, eh?” “Au contraire, monsieur [he wasn’t from Montreal], gray is the favorite color for photographers. I get to control the light. Actually, the scene could use some fog.”
I stood and waited for the snow to come. Maybe later. No one walking. Here, I live in one of the coolest and most desirable places, one calling out for attention and its empty. People want the reds and blues and greens. Oh, come to the Lake for its beauty. Let’s go leaf peeping. Nothing wrong with this.
So, I tell the guy my views. As usual, he disagrees. Just like a Vermonter. Every sentence begins with I like it or I don’t like it or I agree or disagree. I want it to stay this way forever. I liked it better when there was a swamp here.”
Redemption. We seek redemption for different reasons. Larry promotes a clean environment, relying on the arrogance of those who cast their containers aside after binging on the beach. He lives to drink another day, clearing the beach and adjoining land of debris. We get to enjoy the view.
Met this guy at North Beach. He built a castle on the sand which could last for a few days. Usually he builds Churches as a way to show how to save the environment. Using words like “ecomass” and “biomass,” he talked about reducing waste and promoting jobs in VT. I didn’t understand much, but he had just been interviewed for a show on VPR which I hope I don’t miss to learn more.
He had an assistant, a young girl he met at the Beach. “I am happier about having her help me, than I am with the building.”
I left my coffe cup near the rock. Jesse kept it over the weekend. It returned to me a little bruised, but not broken. Had not marked it lost. Hard to explain how one becomes connected to a cup. Sure, it protects the environment, but it also has a feel that I have become attached to, associating it with the liquid it carries and its presence at the beginning of a day. This cup has been with me since Manchester, early oughts. But it never lived in someone’s backpack for four days, not knowing if it would ever see me again.
So, you think this is stupid, eh? If you be a dunkin donut drinker, do you think the cups really disintegrate, or don’t you care? I don’t know if you have a regular cup, many do, especially if they give to charities without taking the beneficial artist mug. When I leave my cup in the care by mistake, my day starts differently if I don’t’ have my cup. I sometimes spill on myself due to unfamiliarity with the opening. Could it be that it also tastes better? I know that it feels better and that it means that I didn’t lose it.
His daughter goes to the Sustainability School, Barnes Elementary School. She is learning how to calculate electric needs in kindergarten. Even though he is a Republican, the Mayor of Church St supports the vote for the Grid in Tuesday’s special election.