Back home in Wisconsin the weather has been really cold with sub-degree highs and wind chills that are almost impossible to believe. Here in Florida where I am so blessed to spend the winter months it has been cooler than normal and there has been more rain. The shelling has also been affected–very few shells on the beaches compared to previous years but sometimes wonderful discoveries like the number of live olive shells I have seen this year. The olive is a favorite of mine with it’s shiny brown shell–to discover the animal that calls this beautiful shell home has been a special treat. I do not take live shells–ever! Instead I delight in watching them make their little trails across the sand as the tide comes in.
Now that my Wisconsin home is an apartment I will not have a “home” there as I have in the past for the shells I have collected and carried back north with me each year. But I have this wonderful new home here in Florida and just below my balcony is a little park bench under a wonderful and enormous live oak tree. I have planted the two abandoned planters that sit at either end of the bench and every year before I head north I plant the bromiliads that I have nurtured on my balcony under the tree. I have spread mulch under the bench and around the planters and perhaps in time I will cover the mulch with shells. My neighbors are of two varieties–they have either praised or ignored my efforts so I continue until someone tells me to stop. Even when we rented here I would plant the plants I had accumulate during the season (and could not take home with me) and many of them are thriving on the beautiful grounds here. There is one bush with bright yellow flowers that I see every time I leave the complex–it reminds me of the wonderful times L and I shared here and makes me smile every time I see it.
I know that one day it will probably be gone in favor of some landscaping change but for now it is a source of comfort and that is the point. Knowing how brutal the winter in Wisconsin has been I am grateful every day (in spite of the chilly rainy days here) that L brought us to this wonderful community. Seeing that flowering bush brings back memories that remind me of the love story I was so blessed to play a part in. And this new home here that L never shared with me is nevertheless filled with his spirit.