Bella Vida by Letty

stories

Key Largo Road Trip: Things I Found at the End of the Road

Key Largo Florida

 

Every so often I get the urge to get in the car in search of new adventures.  I recently set off on another road trip, this time determined to find roads which ended at the ocean.  It’s not too difficult a challenge to accomplish in Florida but it can be a bit tricky.  After discovering a road I’ve never traversed on a map we headed to Key Largo.  Card Sound Road is smack in the middle of protected lands and Florida State Parks which go on peacefully for miles upon unhampered miles.  There’s nothing out there except nature and a sprinkle of people canoeing alongside crocodiles in canals or quietly tossing fishing lines off bridges.  It is the perfect place for these types of activity.

Needing to stretch our legs one of our stops was at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park where we ended up participating in our very first Geo Caching.  Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices or an app you can download to your iphone. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.  You sign the log, include whatever you’ve taken and left then share with others.

For more info check out the website    Have you tried geocaching?

We had a blast searching for treasure and leaving behind a little something but had yet to accomplish our original mission.  Continuing on our journey we traveled down many streets until finding the perfect dead end road leading us to the shore of the Atlantic.

Key Largo Florida

What I found at the end of the road.

The end of the road separated from me from my routine and the excesses of city life.  The excess of people, manmade structures, noise pollution and constant rushing about.  It was not quiet nor absent of movement yet very peaceful.  I allowed myself to open up to receive what my spirit needed.

The first thing to hit me was the wind.  The air was salty and humid but it felt cleansing.  Closing my eyes I breathed it as deeply as I could.  This wind did not carry city sounds, only the loveliest of bird calls, beautiful sounds I hadn’t heard before.  My next realization, was there is no real end of the road.  Nothing truly ends.  There was plenty of life happening all around me.  There are no sandy beaches in the Florida Keys just lots of shells, rocks and wildlife.  Birds and fish preferring the deeper waters a few yards from me.  Not intimidated by my presence crabs, shrimp and snails crawled near my toes in clear shallow water.  One little fella even tried to hitch a ride on my leg.

Metaphorically what I found was the removal of boundaries.  We tend to walk around collecting imaginary boundaries and imposing limits on ourselves without analyzing why.  The moment you stop limiting yourself, you are opening yourself up to new perspectives and greater possibilities   Life has and will find a way to continue on as I witnessed at the end of the road.  Tossing out limitations will allow us to achieve ever greater things we have yet to imagine.

 

Key Largo Florida

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“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”   Nelson Mandela

 

“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”  Martin Luther

 

“Change: A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn. ”   Helen Keller

 

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Road Trip: Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

A recent road trip led me to Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah. Established in 1733 this seaport city is rich with history, culture and things to see. The local government makes it apparent it is committed to protecting and preserving important landmarks by doing a consummate job of maintaining its many parks and squares.

One interesting place I visited was the Bonaventure Cemetery. This particular cemetery was incorporated into the city’s park system in 1907 but the land has been in use as burial grounds since 1847. Like a few other places in Savannah it’s famous for being featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Tree lined dirt paths at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

At the entrance of the cemetery a red brick building built in 1918 serves as the Bonaventure Administrative Building and headquarters for the City of Savannah Department of Cemeteries. Inside I was greeted by a small white haired lady balancing the largest thick black rimmed glasses on her tiny nose intent on having me sign the guest book. I politely conceded.

The navigator in me immediately gravitated to the giant map on the wall at the visitors center next to the podium where the guest book rested.  The cemetery’s location was at the very  edge of the Wilmington River making it the first thing I wanted to see, the view of the water.

To get there we drove past rows and rows of gigantic live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. Trees that were already well established long before the cemetery. You could feel their strength by noticing their growth. Wide, tall and twisting to survive everything man and nature has done to them for over 250 years. The cemetery takes advantage of tree lined roadways to provide access and separate the major cemetery sections.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Wilmington River Savannah Georgia

The scenic shore at the Wilmington River turned out to be as lovely and picturesque as I imagined it. Once I saw the watercourse and the movement of the city beyond bright green banks I felt a peaceful calm wash over me. Colossal trees held city noises back leaving us with nothing but the loud buzzing of cicadas which at times can be deafening when they decided to hum together. While the trees could protect us from the suns direct light there is nothing in the world that can beat back the humid sweltering midday heat of the south.  One in the afternoon at the height of summer was incandescent.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

I wasn’t sure how it would feel to be in an old cemetery where the final remains of writers, poets and confederate soldiers had been laid to rest. Not because of the many ghost stories of howling dogs seen roaming in packs after midnight or statues of little girls that cried tears of blood if you didn’t leave a trinket because I love ghost stories, especially making them up.

I just knew I did not want to disturb the energy that has been accumulating there for hundreds of years.  Before the cemetery there was a plantation which the owners lost during the American Revolutionary war.  Then during wartime it became a hospital before becoming a plantation again. This land has seen many come and go.  Today it continues to receive and entertain a steady flow of visitors.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

Kicking up dust we drove slowly down the dirt paths trying to avoid the few other visitors there on that day.  I didn’t want any distractions.  I didn’t want to have to wait.  I just wanted to snap away with my camera quietly and spontaneously.  Combing the graveyard with a curious eye and listening intently, always listening.  Walking a little making sure to take care where I stepped I discovered many interesting tombstones, headstones, vaults, statues and dedications.  Some were simple while others wildly elaborate or obscenely huge.

I know I don’t care for elaborate tributes when I’m gone. I’d rather enjoy a shared laugh spending quality time together while I’m here.

In the meantime enjoy these images I captured and were the ONLY things I brought back with me from the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

 

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Every turn is a New Opportunity

San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.” Randall Munroe

La Puerta de San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams, Jr.

La Puerta de San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.” Epictetus

“A wise man turns chance into good fortune.” Thomas Fuller

“Fiction is a piece of truth that turns lies to meaning.” Dorothy Allison

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Favorite Places ~ Old San Juan Puerto Rico

“You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person.” Alec Waugh
Old San Juan Puerto Rico Sunny Day 2008

My favorite place on the planet is Old San Juan Puerto Rico.  I never tire of walking street after street. Each visit holds new surprises. If you end up walking with me you’re in trouble because I can walk forever.

I love the off balance sensation of stepping on gray worn cobblestone laid centuries before.  I love the mystery of following unplanned paths that will eventually lead me to the deep blue oceans edge.  There is no wrong way.  There is no getting lost. Taking the challenging uphill walkway past a music school I saunter to the pace of bomba which will transform to salsa, reggaeton or merengue as I continue onward.  At the top of Calle Cristo my eyes are greeted with an explosion of colors. On every facade is a festival for the eyes in a pattern eluding repetition.  My eyes feasting on colors like candies; pilon lollipops  pasta de guayaba, coco-pina, miel con almendra, ajonjoli, limber de parcha, papaya-lechoza and crema de coco.

 

 

Old San Juan Puerto Rico – rainy day 2008

Seeking relief from the sun or natures other elements the museums, art galleries and studios became my playground   Shops and boutiques display cultural treasures; local handmade arts and crafts. Admiring and appreciating every piece made on this island fills my soul with inspiration.  I feel a camaraderie with these artists. The commonality of artistic qualities and roots to the island is very comforting. I am less lonely knowing there are others like me.

I feel connected to this place with every swirling sound, graced texture, dancing vision and pleasing aroma.  I feel connected by family, by blood by DNA from the ends of my long curly black hair to the tippy tips of my aura. Every cell of my being has been switched ON to happy.

 

La Fortaleza – Palacio de Santa Catalina Puerto Rico – rainy day 2008

 

I get that sensation each time I visit my favorite place.

“How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.” Katherine Mansfield

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Rainy Photographs of Puerto Rico

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” Roger Miller
Capilla del Cristo Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love pictures of the rain, rainy days, rain washed settings . . .
The clouds conceal the light leaving it’s affects on how color is perceived.
Dark clouds stir emotions like a warning of something coming inciting the feeling of needing protection.

Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love rain water reflections. Precious diamond moments when we see ourselves projected outside of our bodies. Reminding us that we are here. We are alive. Ceaselessly taking part in the endless chain of being affected and affecting the universe.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” Joan Didion
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes

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