A rumination: The Florida Keys are beautiful--wonderful blue/aqua water, a sense of wilderness and hot, romantic, tropical, rotting history. But too, too many people. Lots of skittish folks who look strung out and down and out. And that negative energy is mixed up in a strange way with the happy clutter of tourists. I was here before, for two years, working as news reporter. That was 28 years ago and had the same observations. Nothing has changed. Where do all the bleeding, desperate people come from? I wish them well as they seek to sort things out, but experience tells me not to be optimistic. I covered the Key West police blotter too often for optimism.
I took a final, lone walk around the DRC tonight. It was sunset and it suddenly felt very fine being alone. My charges seemed at ease, resting after a day entertaining tourists. They do seem happy despite animal rights activists views to the contrary. Floating heads up in the dark water, they watched me with one eye and then the other. They squeaked and chortled. One played with a hula hoop, dragging it around with him--or her.
Are dolphins hyper intelligent as the common wisdom tells us? After all, this place is the home of the original Flipper, the super dolphin (he/she is buried here). They're stunning creatures, powerful and lithe, and much better at being dolphins then we smart humans. But no, I suspect the researchers are right--on the perhaps unfair human scale of problem solving/linguistic abilities, they come in somewhere between a dog and a chimpanzee. One thing, though, I feel is true: They have a special, positive energy I haven't sensed in any other animal, and they send it out to the humans around them. This place has great karma.
Tomorrow I've got to get to the airport in Key West (now there's a town) by 3:00 PM for my 5:00 PM flight to Norfolk. I'll get back home to the Eastern Shore by Midnight, I would think. It's been great being here and though it might have been better if I'd had some company, I've discovered that being alone is an adventure in itself.
Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com