My last morning on Sanibel Island, I wrote a blog post about the trip. To be honest, I wrote it more for me than for you, but I was thinking of you all as I typed; I needed you, my little audience. In the past, when I have taken trips, I have written blog after blog after blog about my adventures and then, somewhere along the way, I look at the blog posts and think, "Hey, that could be a story!" And then I rewrite one of the blog posts, or weave two or three of them together, and I come up with something that works, and then sometimes it is published somewhere.
This time, though, I was on assignment, and I needed something that would work for sure.
So on my last day on Sanibel, I wanted to make sure I had a story. I spent the morning writing a blog post and it seemed to work OK and I posted it and then after about 10 hours I took it down. After all, I was not in Florida on a private vacation on my own time: I was there to write a story for the paper, and it didn't seem right to publish even a very rough draft of it somewhere else first.
I came back to work this week and used that blog post as a guide and by the end of Monday I had a pretty good story and by the end of Tuesday I was happy with it, and on Wednesday I tinkered just a little more, and today, I hope, the travel editor will read it and if all goes well it will run in February. (If all does not go well, I will be rewriting.)
In any case, you can read my story in February, basking in the glow of knowing that you get some of the credit for helping me through the writing, just by being you.
So you won't get a Sanibel story here today. But I can do this: I can post pictures of things that one might do on Sanibel Island (and things that I did do). Pictures might be better than words anyway, especially if you are reading this (as I am writing it, thanks to a restless Rosie) quite early in the morning.
So here goes:
Shelling. I am not a beach person by any means--I prefer rain and woods--but I have to admit the beaches captivated me, especially in early morning. There were millions of shells in white sand, and no one around, and pelicans overhead, and the sun just coming up, and I found myself hunched over like any veteran sheller, looking for pretty ones to take home. (For the record: I took home five tiny ones.)
If you are endlessly patient and vastly talented, here's one thing you can do with all those shells: You can make a picture. This is from the Shell Museum, a very interesting place just up the road from where we stayed.
And where did we stay? In this little cottage, very very close to the beach. Close enough that we made coffee and then carried our cups down to the sand in the morning. My hope had been to rent a "beach cottage," but the beaches of Sanibel are protected (as is much of the land--there's a huge nature preserve there), and the cottages are mostly set a ways back from the water. This one was close enough to smell the salty air, though, and to feel the breezes, and it was on a very quiet cul-de-sac, and we were happy with it.
This is "our" beach in the morning. Like I said, not a soul around.
We rented bicycles one afternoon. Five bucks gave me two hours with this pretty little thing--battered, single speed, pedal brakes. It was all I needed. There are miles of bike trail (most in the full sun, it is true).
And then there are the birds. There are birds everywhere, big glorious birds--herons and white pelicans and brown pelicans and anhingas and egrets and ospreys. One evening we took a pontoon ride out into the nature preserve and watched the birds fly in to roost for the evening.
Which brings me to my last photos:
Sunsets! Oh my gosh they are glorious. This one is from the pontoon boat. But the next night we drove over to the neighboring island of Captiva, where the beach faces due west without a tree or building or anything to obstruct the view: just ocean and sky.
A beautiful way to end the day, I have to say. Especially a day in late November.