The air feels balmy, without much humidity but just a hint of softness. Puffy clouds scud across a mostly blue sky. I hardly notice them, though, since my eyes are riveted on the waters of Biscayne Bay.
I live on a small island on the bay. Every afternoon, I take a walk around the perimeter, starting on the marina side, which overlooks the mainland. A gentle breeze ripples the American flag that flies overhead. Water laps softly against the sides of sailboats, motor boats, yachts. But I barely notice. I'm looking for signs of sea life.
The afternoon sun shines directly on the clear, shallow water, giving me a view of everything within it. I continue walking, but slowly, scanning for movement. I see a southern stingray and wonder if it notices me. Then I come upon a school of silvery fish swimming in manic circles. Further along, a solitary barracuda hovers. Once I saw a nurse shark swimming in these waters, but not today.
As I reach the end of the marina where the land curves around and the open bay appears, the wind picks up and I take a deep breath of salty air. I feel as if I'm breathing in health. A brown pelican circles over the water, then does its bizarre plunge-dive, landing bill first, wings open. It looks like a crash landing to me, but when the bird comes up, I can see that it's got a fish in the pouch below its bill.
I pick up my pace and shift my gaze across the water. The skyline of downtown Miami comes into focus, all shining glass, and still further away, I spy the high rises at the tip of South Beach.
Now I'm on the open-water side of the island. In the distance, Key Biscayne shimmers in a blue haze. On either side of the path, coconut palms hold court, their fronds chattering softly. There's a pretty wooden bench on the grass next to the sea wall. Most days, I like to sit there for a while and contemplate the scene.
Today, though, I decide to maximize my aerobic benefit and keep going. I soon circle around to the domestic side of the island, where there's a fenced-in dog run for the small dogs permitted here. It's a charming little spot, with a couple of hillocks and small trees, plus a table and chairs for the human visitors. At this time of day, I usually see several dogs and their owners in the space—the dogs cavorting with one another, their owners mellowing out over glasses of Chardonnay. I stop briefly to say hello, then continue on to the island's tiny beach, where I often find the three Muscovy ducks currently in residence on the island.
This is invariably the highlight of my walk. I chat with the ducks and offer them water by turning on the nearby water fountain, which has a hose attached for their benefit. I'm trying to train the ducks to come when I say "water." So far, my success has been variable. They come when they're thirsty, but waggle their tails and ignore me when they're not.
Usually, I circle the island twice each afternoon. That may seem repetitive, yet it's not. The sun, the sky, the sea, the fish, the fowl, and even the dogs create an ever-changing tableau. Writing about it doesn't do it justice. I wish you were here, so you could see for yourself.