Sometimes, I guess I get too complacent about living on Sanibel Island. I remember the first time I crossed the causeway in 1984, I was stunned by the beauty of the island. I spent the whole day walking the beach and shelling. I remember seeing some condos being built and wishing that we could afford to buy one.
Then about 10 years later, we had the opportunity to spend a week at Pointe Santo. We did that for 5 years in a row and I always counted the days until our return. The last year we stayed at Pointe Santo was the year I retired. We had a motor home and decided to see if we could find a campground in the area where we could park it for several weeks. We checked at Periwinkle Park never dreaming we would be able to get in there. But sure enough, they had a site available for November and December. We arrived November 1st, set up camp and were hit by Hurricane Mitch ( then Tropical Storm Mitch) 2 days later. That was our first experience with flooding and fireants. Neither was a whole lot of fun but we stayed. In fact, we actually spent the month of January also since whoever had reserved that lot cancelled out. That meant that our campsite was ours every year at that time if we wanted it. IF--we wanted it. OF COURSE, we wanted it!!
In 2000, I came into a small inheritance from my aunt and my first thought was to buy a permanent trailer in Periwinkle Park--which we did. Last year, we became Florida residents although we still have a home in Ohio. So, Sanibel is actually home now. Wow. Sometimes it still blows my mind when I am crossing the causeway and realize that this beautiful island is my home.
Today, Mr. Snowbird and I decided that we needed to get off of our you know whats and get some exercise. We love to walk on the beach, so that is where we headed. As we were leaving the Park, we spotted a River Otter ahead of us, loping-hopping-rolling-whatever Otters do on land since they have no legs. Amazing. Then as we were crossing the boardwalk to the beach, a little Black Racer snake snaked itself across the boardwalk in front of us. Eww. I'm not really a snake person.
As we headed down the beach, we saw that the beach was full of flocks of birds. I don't think I've ever seen quite so many before. Of course, being a wildlife lover, we skirted each flock so that we didn't scare them. (Note here: try not to walk through a flock of birds making them fly. They are resting and need their rest. It makes me crazy when I see people do this. OK, off my soapbox.) Anyway, we spotted at least 2 terns with compound fractures of their legs and one bird with a hook in his leg. Unfortunately all were flighted so we couldn't catch them. It broke my heart to see them in the pain they must have been in.
After we got back home, I jumped in the car and went to Access #7 on West Gulf Drive. To park along there you have to be a resident and have a parking pass--which we have. I love shelling down there because often there are more shells than at the public beaches and also because there are a whole lot fewer people. I managed to pick quite a few shells up and in general enjoyed my time alone with the sand, the waves, the birds, and the shells.
I look back on that first day so many years ago when we discovered Sanibel. I never dreamed that one day, this would be my home. And, if I ever get too compacent about it, please give me a good swift kick in my you know what.