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Were you expecting a cocktail? I could understand that. I will occasionally take pictures of drinks, but I don’t take pictures of food, as some travelers do. Part of the essence of food is the place, the air, the company, the ambiance, and a photo of a burger just doesn’t capture that. We had some of the best burgers I’ve ever had at the restaurant at Augusta Bay. Did I take a picture of them? No. I did take a picture of my last Kalik at the airport. And a picture of our small bottle of Night Train Express, the cheapest booze ever, which we bought to see what it was like, since it had been the drink of choice among hobos in our childhood memories. And there might be a picture of me drinking out of a bottle of Cuban Rum. But I won’t share those. Instead, I’ll share the rocks in front of the white sand beach at Exuma Palms.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the Day: “It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Daily gratitudes:
The Thai Life Insurance commercial
White peacocks
My chicken earrings
That my friend does NOT have breast cancer
Comfort food

All over the Caribbean are piles of conch – conch graveyards – in spots on various islands. The pile on Anegada is way off of a point that is terribly hard to get to. The one on Stocking Island is right in the water at the edge of the beach, where day trippers pile off of boats to have fresh conch salad. This one is at the Fish Fry on Great Exuma. So many of the conch shells are just gray husks of their former selves, but these few still hold that rich rose shade that we all recognize from conch shells worldwide.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” –  George Eliot

Daily gratitudes:
Recovery from migraines
Kelsea
Downton Abbey on DVD
Birdsong
Dreams

While I’ve never done anything to be arrested for on a tropical island, it does happen. (I have been given a ride back to my hotel by the Chief of Police on Jost van Dyke, but only because I was walking the road ‘home’ late at night by myself.) I’ve often wondered if it would be worse to be jailed in a lovely tropical place than to be imprisoned in someplace flat and soulless, like Florence, Colorado, home to one of our nation’s SuperMax prisons. I think it would be unbearable to see the beauty of an island through the bars of a jail cell. But at least you would see that beauty.

This prison, obviously, can hold nothing now but memories within its crumbling walls.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

Daily gratitudes:
The giant pale moon sinking behind the mountains this morning
The green of tulip leaves sprouting along the edge of my fence
Fathers talking to tiny babies in strollers
Feeling sleek in all black today
When Mr. Man hide under the comforter
Third-eye kisses

I don’t think they’re still serving here, but I’m sure that all had a jolly time when they were.

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Outside of Rolleville, Great Exuma.

Quote of the day: “Poetry purrs like a kitten on the tip of our tongue. Each word fluidly floating from our lips, like little crystalline snowflakes, before settling onto an emotional wonderland of forgotten feelings. It has the power to pull our deepest emotions to the surface of consciousness and to serenade our soul with the haunting melody of a self, lost… and finally found.” — Jaeda De Walt

Daily gratitudes:
The campy transit ads in the bus station (I’ll try to take a picture for you)
Soft sweaters
Gumbo
Wazee Supper Club
When my photography inspires other art

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Sunset from Catchafire, Great Exuma.

 

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

I think we’ll just leave it at that for today.

I’m not sure. Considering the weather predicted for the South, I’m just not sure. Sigh. Help me hope.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” — Rumi

Daily gratitudes:
That I could walk home without my coat because it was 38 degrees – warm is all relative
That I feel safe walking home after dark
The smell of woodsmoke from chimneys
Lunches with MKL
My snuggly Mr. Man

They say it will get down to -30 tonight with the wind chill. I know that I came close to frostbite on my fingers and toes today, even in boots and gloves. So, let’s look at this picture, shall we, and know that places like this actually exist.

MKL and I have both about had it with cold weather. We are starting to discuss more temperate options for our future together. It’s so lovely to have a true partner to plan with. Tonight, I comfort myself with polar bear pajamas, Mr. Man, and re-watching Season One of Downton Abbey. Oh, and packing swimsuits, but I don’t want to rub that part in.

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Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the Day: “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.”  – Oscar Wilde

Daily gratitudes:
Anything warm
Green chile soup
Discussions of religion with Kelsea
A tot of rum on a cold night
The man at O’Reilly Auto Parts who fixed my windshield wiper for free
The pretty girl who left a warm scent of vanilla behind in the elevator

 

The sky was blue today, but it is still freezing outside. I made the child shovel the snow before she went to a Super Bowl party – isn’t that why we have children in the first place? Although she did ask me if she would still have to take care of me in my old age if she went out to shovel in the bitter cold. I told her she did.

The countdown to warmth continues.

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Stocking Island, Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the day: “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” — Marianne Williamson

Daily gratitudes:
My Broncos, win or lose
Books
The relief I felt from finding Mr. Man hidden beneath the bedclothes
Folger’s instant coffee
Loving someone enough to miss him when you don’t see him every day (that’s you, MKL)

 

There are so many people for whom I say a little prayer in my heart daily – Lea G. as she fights the good fight against breast cancer, Megan Bouge and her family as she struggles on this anniversary of the day she lost her Wyncie, for my sweet co-worker whose father is facing a bone marrow transplant. For Colonel’s Mom. For all those people and animals suffering from the long cold of this winter.

When I was on Anguilla, shortly after my mother died, I went for a drive to explore the island, and found a little cemetery atop a hill overlooking the sea, and across the street was a little whitewashed church. It’s blue shuttered windows were wide open to the soft ocean breezes, and lovely lilting voices raised in a gospel hymn were floating on the air.

This is not that church, but it seems that the spiritual practices of so many islands are housed in similar places of worship, like this one on Little Exuma.  In fact, the Exumas had many little churches, which speaks to the strong faith of the islanders. I know that for me personally, anywhere beneath the blue sky is an excellent place for me to send prayers up to heaven.

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Little Exuma.

Quote of the day: “One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” — Henry David Thoreau

Daily gratitudes:
A day with my daughter
Beach dreams
Charley the elephant
Having heat
Warm drinks on white cold days

AND, OF COURSE, GO BRONCOS!!!!!

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