Mile Marker 17; A Tribute to the Florida Keys
by Alexa Francisco
Trip Log 6
Sugarloaf Key, Florida
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, about 100 miles North-ish of Cuba, you’ll find this gal’s homeland (referring to myself of course, ahem, and the Florida Keys).
I spent the majority of my youth 17 miles away from the Southernmost Point, on an island named Sugarloaf that’s about as itsy-bitsy as my bikini. The days were spent scrubbing barnacles for money, hunting for dinner above and below the water, and hijacking left-over beers from my dad’s cooler after he turned in for the night…
Now I don’t know if you’ve visited this place or not (and I suggest you see it someday if you haven’t) but the weather here is well-known for its major bipolar tendencies. As a youngin’, it taught me a lot about the unpredictability of nature and how it’s applicable to the way we experience life as people. Witnessing the sky go from completely sunny to torrential downpour within minutes, often multiple times a day makes the duality of our existence very easy to see. When you align yourself to that kind of natural rhythm (and get so unbearably close to lightning your hair stands up on end) you pick up on a few things worth reminding yourself every once in a while.
“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” -Bob Marley
Like the fact that people process emotion the same way the earth processes sunshine and rain, that each end of the spectrum is not only righteous but necessary to maintain good health, and that all kinds of weather, emotions, and experiences are and will forever be in a constant ebb and flow. And of course, life is fucking short.
“Some of it’s magic, some it’s tragic, but I’ve had a good life along the way”. -Jimmy Buffet
As I look at the marina here on Sugarloaf Key, a little shanty I used to visit to load up on gas and fish bait for the day, I’m pumped to see that it’s still standing after enduring decades of extreme heat and terrifying hurricanes.
We’re different forms of the same expression, and this place and I have an understanding of each other.
Out of all the places we go, there will be a select few that completely encompass the soul and flat-out make sense of the things you may otherwise find hard to understand...
Where is that for you?
Or, maybe you’ve yet to find it?
Whether that’s the case or it’s just been a while since you visited, I urge you to get your ass out there.
Here’s to all the places that have become a part of us, and all the places that will we have yet to go.
by Alexa Francisco
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