Sunset – Sunrise

There is a big storm system that has been cloudy the skies and whipping up the surf. Here is the scene at sunset last night, and sunrise this morning.

Sunset, Seminole Rest, Florida

Sunset, Seminole Rest, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge/Canaveral National Seashore

 

Sunrise New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Sunrise New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Sunrise, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Eventually, a hint of sunlight

“Take me home, country road…”

Circumstances are such for my hostess that she has asked me to depart today rather than Monday as planned. So I guess I will be spending the holiday weekend and all of next week meandering. I am not exactly sure where I am going or where I will spend each night but as long as I travel in the general direction toward where I need to be on April 26, does it really matter?

Cocoa Beach, stormy surf

I am reluctant to leave the beach behind, as I have expressed many times this past month — sunny, cloudy, rainy, or cold, there is no better way to start the day than sunrise on the beach. So I will travel up the East Coast toward Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, be a Southern belle for awhile, and then decide when and where I will cross the mountains. I have a hankering to return to the Smokies (my first sojourn away from home) and I’ve heard great things about Asheville, North Carolina.

Not sure if I will make it all the way to West Virginia’s “mountain mama;”  you will just have to follow along to see where this meander leads.

I walked Cocoa Beach one last time today; all the way to the pier and back (5 + miles). It wasn’t pretty — heavy cloud cover, but it sure was therapeutic. Eventually the sun’s rays came shining through — at least a little bit. Here are a few photos for you:

So long Cocoa. Another adventure awaits.

Holy Week – Mexican Traditions (a flashback)

Palm Sunday is past and Easter is coming up, that means bunnies and egg hunts here in the US but in Taxco it is Holy Week, something that a young man who lives there calls “a show you just have to see — at least once.” This one week of the year, people descend upon Taxco who take their Lenten penitence very seriously.

Hundreds of penitents come to town bearing the virgin statue from their parish, accompanied by an entourage of family, friends, townspeople, and all the confirmation girls of the village in their white dresses. The penitent’s intent is to show their devotion by “walking in the footsteps” of Christ (never mind that he never set foot in Mexico.)

With masks over their faces (to disguise their identity) and what I can only describe as a black sarong (I am sure they have a different name for it) tied around their waists, each chooses one of three ways to show their devotion — walk bent over with chains around their ankles holding candles or a small cross in their hands (usually women), carry a giant cross (usually adolescent boys), or carry a tree trunk sized roll of thorn stems over their shoulders forming a sort of human cross.

On the evening of Maunday (or Holy)Thursday, there is a procession of the shrines, when the main street winding through town is filled with these masked guys in black,bowing to their particular virgin, and self flagellating themselves with a fabric whip. Each penitent along with their entourages wind all the way through the main street of town from the la Garita statue to the church at the Zocolo (the park square in the center of town.) Don’t even think of trying to get anywhere downtown on that night, or the rest of the weekend for that matter, as thousands upon thousands fill the streets (the hotels, and restaurants – some of which rent and open a second seating area just for this week) to gawk and “see the show.”

Statues of penitents, Ex-convent, Taxco, Mexico

Statues of Holy Week penitents, Ex-convent, Taxco, Mexico

Saturday morning is the solemn procession. I am not sure how far these people walk (a mile or 2) all bent over or carrying their burden, but they do it barefoot on hot cobblestones, and if you are carrying the thorns bleeding. Each penitent is watched to be sure they carry their own burden, though they have assistants to guide them along (since those with the thorns cannot see where they are going, and, if the procession stops to lift the thorn rolls off the guys shoulders, while the bent can straighten up.

Around the Zocolo people throng to watch the procession, creating an avenue between rows of live bodies snapping photos, making videos, and cheering as each penitent reaches the church and receives communion. It is pure chaos but fascinating.

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As my friend, said, if you are in Taxco during Holy Week, you must “see the show.”

Give a hoot

Unfortunately, not all people who go to the beach understand how their actions affect the people and environment around them. Trash is a huge issue.

Though there are trash cans at all the entrances to the beach, not everyone sees fit to use them, and on weekends there is just too much trash for the cans. (There appears to be little or no concept of carry in-carry out.) Some nights, people party at the beach and just leave their trash or worse, see if they can throw their empty beer cans as far as the ocean.

img_7880-qpr img_7878-qpr img_7885-qprThis is Marcel. He and his wife come from Canada and stay in a hotel on the beach for a month each spring.

When he is here, he walks the beach, all the way to the pier and back (about 2 miles) with his 5-gallon bucket and his reacher (picker-upper) picking up the trash others leave behind.

I applaud his efforts, since he does not live here, yet he feels it is his obligation to clean up the beach and make it a better place for others.

Give him a hand — literally; the next time you see trash where it shouldn’t be, pick it up and dispose of it properly.

A straw, bottle cap, or a shiny piece of cellophane is not just unsightly, it can be deadly to wildlife. If you have any doubt about the impact of trash in our environment, watch this video shot on Midway Island, thousands of miles from civilization.

Give a hoot, don’t pollute.

Moonset

Moonset, Cocoa Beach, FloridaA storm rolled through last night ushering in a cool front. It was a bit brisk at the beach this morning, where a giant bank of clouds hid the sun. So I thought I would give you a picture of the moon instead. (Speaking of which did you see the eclipse and the “blood moon” the other night?)

Finally about an hour late, the sun finally managed to do this.

Sunrise, Cocoa Beach, FloridaIn the end, it was a beautiful, sunny, if cool and windy day.

Sunset, Cocoa Beach, Florida

 

High Tide

img_7806-qprHigh and low tides occur twice a day, but unlike the sun which, in the spring, rises a little earlier each day, tides seem to come in and go out on a schedule all their own. (It has something to do with the moon.)

img_7805-qprThe last few days, the tide has been quite high at sunrise. Birds on Cocoa BeachThis means that there is very little beach (at least the firmer wet part) that is easier to walk on.

Although my sandals are waterproof and perfectly capable of wading through the waves, wet feet collect a shoe full of sand walking back across the loose sand toward home.

Thus I find myself weaving along the shoreline like this flock of sandpipers who watch the waves come in, dart out to search for something special left by the receding waves, only to, a moment later, dart back to dry sand as the waves come rushing in again.

Pardon the blur, it is early morning, sandpipers are fast., and they simply refuse to stand still to have their picture taken.

Sail away

Just north of Cocoa Beach is Cape Canaveral. In addition to Kennedy Space Center, it is the home of Port Canaveral and the cruise ship terminals.

Exploration Tower, Cape Canaveral, FloridaThe Exploration Tower (Cape Canaveral Welcome Center) rises from the horizon like a space shuttle waiting to launch (I am sure that was the architect’s intention). This amazing architectural feat offers several floors of exhibits featuring the native cultural heritage, the Spanish and more modern settlement of the area, the natural environment, and of course, the space program.

The roof offers a great vantage point to watch the cruise ships launch.

Here was the scene on a recent afternoon.