Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cayo Costa: Out of Africa

Heading over to Cayo Costa Island on a Park Service Boat

Camp Site with Sleep Tent and Kitchen Tent

View of Coastal Savannah from Kitchen Tent

Morning Coffee

Why do I feel like I am someplace other than Florida? Africa keeps coming to mind. Is it our tent with its screening pulled back framing a view reminiscent of a sandy, palmy grassland in Kenya or Tanzania? Or the lack of electricity and running water? The unconditioned air that I'm not conditioned to? The quietness takes me far away; can this really be the States? No cars or machinery to break the sounds of the sea, birds, and swaying palm fronds. The night is a dark studded jewel like it is suppose to be and the day a vast scape of changing light and shadows. Wow, this is out of.....where are we?

Cayo Costa, a Florida State Park, is where Dan and I have chosen to do volunteer work for a month this winter. Cayo Costa is an undeveloped barrier island 6 miles off the southwest coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. You can only get here by boat. We do a few hours of work per week and we get to stay in our tent for free. And free we are. Lovin' it!

I've been strolling around barefoot these hot days with a piece of fabric wrapped around my naked body. I feel like an African woman, especially when I balanced shower gear on my head for fun on my way to and from the outdoor shower (another story). It occurs to me after several days that this little "sun dress" I secure (and not so securely sometimes, by amature accident) with twists and knots around my chest is a piece of fabric I purchased years ago at an international fair in Toledo. I examine it further and find a label in the corner which reads "Printed in Tanzania." Could it be....the print is rubbing off on me?