Archive for ‘Observations’

Teddy* in Tampa


Sign at Vila Brothers Park, Tampa, Florida July 2020

I spotted this sign in Tampa while waiting at a traffic light yesterday. A huge Theodore Roosevelt fan, I flipped a quick u-turn so I could learn more. I’ve done a bit of reading about our dynamic 26th President over the years and I hold him in high regard. His namesake national park is one of my favorite parks in our entire system.

I knew that Roosevelt and the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (aka the Rough Riders) fought in Cuba during the Spanish American War, but I didn’t recall that they left from Tampa. Thankfully, Vila Brothers Park preserves one of the campsites used by the Rough Riders in 1898 as they waited to ship out.

There wasn’t much to see at the small park so I drove a few miles south to explore another green space. The block wall that separates Ballast Point Park from the Tampa Yacht and Country Club was covered in murals.

While most of the sections depicted marine life (dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and manatees) I was pleasantly surprised to see a portion dedicated to Roosevelt and the “Cowboy Cavalry”. What random luck to stumble across these two mementos to history!


Mural at Ballast Point Park, Tampa, Florida July 2020

*Though popularly used, Roosevelt abhorred the nickname Teddy. This and other fascinating details can be gleaned from Mornings on Horseback, David McCullough’s thorough and engaging biography.

Stormy Skies


Sunset, Treasure Island, Florida July 2020

I check on my section of beach daily. I know, you feel sorry for me, don’t you? Though the main components remain the same (white sand, blue-green water, shells, and sky) there is a different composition every day.

The past few days, storms have blown through in furious, wet bursts. Though these have interfered with our sunsets, I liked the contrast of this small sailboat against a backdrop of highlighted storm clouds from last night.


I Lichen It!

Checked out a new-to-me park over the weekend, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. I spent a few warm, but enjoyable, hours wandering the 245 acres. The upside to a hot and muggy day? I didn’t have much company on the trails!

I intend to return with my big camera soon, as the one on my phone just couldn’t capture all the magic. Interestingly, shooting within the limits of that camera changed my viewpoint.

With this shift in focus, some objects resembled abstract works of art. Like the tapestry of various, colorful lichens interwoven on these tree trunks. Nature is amazing!

Showy Nature

Since most fireworks shows have been cancelled thought you’d appreciate this bright and cheery substitute. Have a safe and happy Independence Day, y’all!



Sunset, Treasure Island, Florida June 2020

Sunset this past Saturday was pretty spectacular but according to NOAA more dramatic ones are on their way, courtesy of the Saharan Air Layer (SAL). These plumes of hot air from the Saharan Desert form every summer and float across the Atlantic Ocean.

The coming plume is notable as it is unusually large and densely loaded with reddish dust. This dry, hot air will deter the formation of tropical storms for a few days and will make for stellar sunsets but it will also kick our temperatures up. Ah well, like they say, beauty has a price.



Change in Perspective


Snag Reflection, Walsingham Park, Largo, Florida June 2020

When I’m bewildered by my life I seek solace in nature. The fresh air does wonders for my thinking process and watching wildlife grounds me in the moment. Sometimes, nature even provides me with little life lessons.

I’ve walked by this pond dozens of times in the past few months. But yesterday I noticed this reflection. To my eye, the reflection was even more alluring than the real tree standing across the way. It proved to be a gentle nudge, a reminder, to look at the vexing things in my life from another angle. Amazing what a shift in perspective can do!