Snowbirds Swelling


Driven by mysterious instinctual migratory urges, flocks of humans darken the skies and cover southern beaches beginning around this time of year.  Often their temporary sandy nests are adorned with colorful scraps of all sizes and shapes.  Curiously, this display behavior is most present in those well past courtship age.  Many curious monographs have been written on the phenomenon by various xenobiologists.

Unfortunately, in spite of bitter protests from the scientific community, this peculiar natural marvel will soon be entirely lost with the construction of a new hyperspace shunt.
According to native American legend, the “New River” in Fort Lauderdale appeared suddenly after a night of earth shaking.  But its name is prosaically attributed to frustrated early cartographers because the inlet through the barrier island out to the ocean kept shifting by miles every time they remapped it.  I suppose it’s better than some of the other words they probably used.

In typical Florida fashion, the city goes to a lot of trouble to make a beautiful parkland and restaurant-lined plaza along a lovely stretch of water, then lets insanely huge boats tie up alongside to completely block the view.  That seems to be a common quirky aesthetic around here, a nice conception, a hint of beauty, then a prosaic slide into common ugliness, as if the original vision fades and is blurringly erased by selfish private wealth working its wonders.


Although Sisyphus today has a big machine to help, his task remains unending and essentially undoable.  This guy tries to hide the residue of every high tide under a blanket of sand, while incidentally picking up the worst of the trash that also floats ashore.   No matter how successful he may be, the whole thing happens again in twelve hours.  Forever.
We want our beaches “pristine.”  Gleaming white sand, unblemished by dead fish, rotting vegetation, or the garbage that an increasing polluted ocean regurgitates.  No snakes, no bugs, no thorns.  As someone who has had a day at the beach ruined by a swarm of mosquitoes, a few pesky greenhead flies, or the stink of decaying flesh, I admit that I am as effete and hypocritical as anyone else.  I want to experience nature, but only after vast amounts of effort and fuel oil have sanded down the rough edges.

Could be almost any shoreline anywhere.  Seagulls may not have arrived with people _ as so many invasive species have been spread throughout the world _ but they certainly thrive wherever humans do.  The fact that humans also provide all the mounds of garbage necessary for food supplies probably means that these birds do not directly compete with locals.

Seagulls are incessant scavengers, beautiful in flight.  Each aggressively defends its own turf, driving others away from a self-perceived treasure with shrieks, beak thrusts, and short charges.  If gene cross transplantation ever takes over, a few chromosomes from them would probably make a more effective class of managers and entrepreneurs.  They even know when they are outclassed and take wing to easier locales, in the avian equivalent of declaring bankruptcy.

Beach peas in profusion on a dune with grasses bearing sharp burrs (from barefoot experience) and holes probably dug by rats.  Fifty years ago, such wild patches in abandoned or undeveloped lots on the Jersey shore filled my young imagination with thoughts of how wilderness had been conquered, leaving these reminders of its might.  Now there are no heartlands of wilderness, and when the seas rise perhaps the last beach peas will be gone.

Beauty will remain.  Begonias and orchids, roses and seagulls, will probably remain as long as humans endure.  Not butterflies nor beac
h peas.  I have lived through the beginning of the sixth extinction, and fortunately will not live to see its completion.


Sunrise over the ocean as theatrical it always is every dawn everywhere every time.  Beautiful, awesome, majestic, no art can do it full justice.  Beyond the magic of illuminating a new world after our profound vanishing into the darks of sleep, it represents a beginning afresh, and wonders to be seen and done, and hope and warmth.

That I can use such words, and you can find them meaningful, is one of the reasons human experience is unique.  A mechanical intelligence could document the exact moment the red ball appears on the horizon, but can it be capable of why that is “theatrical,” “magic,” or “hopeful.”  I think not.  Recreating emotions and sensations and being, which depend on chemicals and hormones more than electrical connections, is beyond any conception of current artificial intelligence attempts. Not celebrating complicated human glory is a crime against our self.

Fallen coconut shell in front of a fallen palm log on the only open space for miles along the beach.  I am not sure if the lack of a huge skyscraper here indicates insufficient financing or the presence of a public park.  Maybe that is a tautology _ I suspect adequate financing could purchase any public land.  For the moment, it is refreshing to have a semi-large grassy expanse behind the dunes of the beach.

Not too many people along the shore today, it being cold by southern Florida standards.  People get here and quickly get in huff along the lines of “I refuse to wear a jacket when I am paying all this money for warm weather.  Let’s go eat at a restaurant instead!”  It’s very easy to let expectations cloud reality.  What would have seemed heavenly to folks a day ago in New York is now a cruel twist of fate from nature robbing them of happy times getting a tan.  Me _ well I’m grateful to experience cold or warm or rain or sun _ just about anything at all.  It’s the alternative that’s bad.



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