Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Marvelous Monday

Monday April 15, 2013
Site 46 St. George Island State Park
St. George, Florida



Sunrise at 4:30 and on the Gulf of Mexico?


Monday at St. George Island Beach 001

This morning when I wake up and look at my watch it says 4:30.  Too early to get up although I feel wide awake.  I roll over and try to go back to sleep.  Then I hear the birds singing.  The birds at 4:30??  Nope.  The birds are always right on time.  They start singing at dawn.  Sure enough when I look at the clock it’s 6:50.  No I didn’t fall back asleep and not realize it.  I misread my watch.  it was 6:20 not 4:30.  Is this part of aging too??





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Sun is rising at 7:13 today and I’m located within 4/10ths of a mile of the Gulf of Mexico.  So I’m going out to greet the sun.

I can hear you saying “but the Gulf is on the WEST coast of Florida Sherry and that’s where the sun SETS”.   Well that of course is what I thought too until I looked at a map and saw that St.  George Island runs East to West out in the gulf and therefore SE is on the gulf side.


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Sure enough, when I get out there, despite the clouds, the color is happening.

I see the orb inching above the horizon and moving right into the clouds above it.

Time to sing “morning is broken” and I do.  I’m the only one on the beach this morning at this spot.  Or so I think



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Monday at St. George Island Beach 033



There are two of us celebrating the sunrise.


As I turn to leave to walk back home and get my running clothes on, I turn around, take one step toward the dunes and stop instantly.  Not 12 feet away I find that someone else has also been quietly enjoying the sunrise with me.   WE are the only ones on the water front.

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He must be used to sharing his beach since he doesn’t move at all when I turn or when I back up and circle around him trying to get a picture of him watching the sun.   The light of course is terrible by now with the sun blazing away but still……….what a GREAT moment.

Great Blue watching sunrise



The sun is up, the high is predicted to be 82 so I must get on with that run.


Reluctantly I leave the beach to the heron, walk back to Winnona, put on my running clothes and jog back to the water.  While I was watching the sunrise  I determined that the sand is firm enough for running and I LOVE to run on the beach.  David says it is hard on my ankle.  It doesn’t seem to cause me any trouble. I don’t know.  I just do it.

When I get back to the beach, the heron has moved closer to the dunes but he is still wandering around and takes no notice of me.  I don’t carry a camera when I am running and today is one of those days I wish I did.

The wind is blowing steadily as I head east up the island.  It whistles in my ears and competes with the rhythmic sound of the ocean waves for my attention.  All the shore birds scamper away at my approach.  I laugh that they run on ahead of me instead of behind and thus are disrupted by my approach over and over.

This is the same beach and direction Carrie and I walked a week ago.  We didn’t make it to the end of the island.  Today I set out to run about 30 minutes up the island, turn around and run back to Winnona.

But as the 30 minutes approaches, it is so lovely here that I decide I will run for an hour on the beach and then turn around and walk back.

When the hour is up, I can see the end of the island.  I tell myself ‘you’ll never be closer than you are now, go for it’.   And so I do.  I run up to the island’s end.  


OK, Now what?

As I round the end of the island the water changes dramatically from the Gulf waves to the gentle lapping of St. George Sound.  I have not seen one other soul during this entire run but now there are 3 fishermen.

Good morning!
I’ve just run up the beach from the campground
How did you get here?

They tell me that they came down the road with the closed gate just beyond the last beach entrance past the campground.

Do you think that would be a shorter way back to the campground?

Yes they say.  And it’s a lovely road through the dunes.  Very pretty.

At this point I’ve come 5 1/4 miles and if I have to go back the same way I will have done 10.5 miles and have been gone for over 2 hours.  David will wonder where I am.  I don’t carry a phone for the same reason I don’t carry a camera.  Both are too big for my running shorts’ pockets and too much trouble to carry in my hand.

I walk down the sound a ways, cut over to the parking lot and proceed up the sandy road. 

It is a lovely walk through these unaltered dunes.  The ocean side is marked all along the road as ‘sensitive nesting habitat for Snowy Plover and Least Terns.  KEEP OUT.’  

I never see any plovers but I do hear and see the terns.  Sweet!


I’m not sure how far I’ve gone before I see a couple of volunteers using my favorite machine, the weed eater. 

They are cutting the few plants growing in the sand road.

Hi.  What is he doing?
He’s cutting the plants in the road.
The park service wants them cut.
I don’t know, I guess it looks tidier.

I try to get my mind around the idea of using those seriously polluting and noisy machines in a sensitive bird habitat, or anywhere for that matter, to make a road, that is closed to public use without a $6 fee, look tidier.  I don’t say anything else except,

How far is it to the gate?
Oh about a mile and a half.

Great!  At this point I’ve come 7.5 miles so this will be a slightly shorter route back.

But apparently the woman I talk with can judge distances about as well as I can since it turns out to be 3 miles not 1.5 back to the paved road and a total of 11 miles by the time I am back at Winnona.

The amazing thing is I’m not tired and nothing really hurts.  It’s been a wonderful morning.  David is making pecan pancakes.  YUM!

Sorry there are no pictures.  It was a beautiful run/walk I hope you can  to imagine it.


The pancakes serve as lunch for me and while David goes to mail the tax forms, I walk down to the beach where again I am the only person there.

This is VERY different than over the week-end when all of the spaces for parking cars were taken.  But even then, the beach, which I now know is nearly 10 miles long just on the Gulf side, was not heavily populated.  Today, population one.


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Monday at St. George Island Beach 048



David joins me (population 2) and discovers as I did that the water is very warm.  I am wishing I’d worn my swimming suit but with the wind and the clouds I know the temperature isn’t 82.  I wasn’t expecting the water to be so warm and I’m too cozy with my book and my journal to walk back and get my suit.   Tomorrow.  Isn’t it wonderful to have a tomorrow here!!

David is also discovering that the waves have just rolled up and splashed the rear of his shorts.


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Apparently that calls for a nap.  There are few better napping spots than on the ocean or gulf beach with the sounds of the waves and a nice breeze.  You can see that a laughing gull has joined us.


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Actually two laughing gulls.  I look more closely at this one and find that he is missing his foot.  How in the world does he get along without his foot?  How in the world did he lose his foot?  He just flew in and landed on his one foot, stood there for a while and then lay down on the beach for a nap like David.  He seems to be doing fine despite his handicap.


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Monday at St. George Island Beach 060     



Since we had more of a brunch than a breakfast we opt for an early dinner and leave the beach around 4:00. 

When we arrive back at Winnona the group of Indigo Buntings that has been in the yard off and on since we got here are back.  And AGAIN they flit away before I can get my camera.  But I’ve got two more full days here.  How great is that??

And, my favorite towhee is here too so I can listen to him and his relatives tell me to ‘drink your teaeeeee’ over and over most of the day and into the evening.

If you are a beach lover,  this is a great park!   Wish Carrie were here!! 


  1. Love the beach and Islands are great places to be during the week.

  2. I've been surprised by the number of birds I've seen since starting fulltiming that are missing a foot or a leg. Great time on the beach.

  3. What a lovely day...Indigo buntings, just love them! Your run really puts my exercise efforts to shame. Now that the bulk of the park residents have gone home, there are very few people left to play pickle ball!

  4. I'm thinking we need to design a easy-to-carry-when-running GPS (ETCWRGPS). That was some morning run, good thing the Earth isn't flat or you might have had some trouble! ;c)

  5. What a privilege to share the sunrise with the Heron. What a lovely day for you.
    The sunrise was beautiful. Animals seem to adapt so well to handicaps, it is remarkable.
    I guess they have to since there is now one to help them. So sad though that they have to go through life this way.

  6. I admire your ambition jogging that far, but know how it is when your alone out there, almost like meditation. And I've discovered most people haven't a clue how to judge a mile. Lovely day at the beach.

  7. Eleven miles!!! I pat myself on the back when I do two.

  8. That sunrise was beautiful... u know the only way I will ever see one is thru u as I am such a lazy butt!! Unless some prods me out!! they are beautiful!! Thank You!!

  9. Your sunrise pics are fabulous! How lucky are you to have the beach to yourselves. Certainly a good place for a nap!

  10. So glad this campground does not have a bug problem and you are able to do what you love...hang out outside;o)) Great views of the sunrise!! What about wearing a small fanny pack and you could carry a phome and small camera?? That way if you had a problem, you could contact David and also never miss a special picture:o))

  11. This post almost sings HAPPY!! You are an incredible person, Sherry. Mentally and physically. I thought for a moment when you were enjoying the sunset and singing that behind you was someone with a white coat and a net. Just kidding.

    You are amazing the way you capture what you're feeling, in words. You actually had a whole bunch of us on the beach with you this morning!

  12. 11 miles indeed! I hope you had water with you. Sometimes I think not have a camera is a good idea - perhaps not for the blog and those of us getting to see all the great places you've been too, however I've found that when I'm not trying to taking pictures I'm more present in the moment. What a great day and to think you have today and tomorrow to enjoy the water. How's the shelling?

  13. sigh ~ beautiful ... you are something else, Sherry. I wish I had half your energy...

  14. I didn't realize that you would have a view of the sunrise from the Gulf there. That alone makes St. George a special place. I heard that the state park at Port St. Joe faces the west, so you will have Gulf sunsets there! The best runs I have ever had were on the beach. I felt like I could run forever--not a typical feeling for me! Thanks for sharing your beautiful day.

  15. Beautiful! 11 miles...good job!

  16. I suppose aging could be related to my sometimes putting my watch on upside down which will give some interesting times in the dim light of the middle of the night.

    Absolutely love the heron watching the sunrise with you. Fabulous picture!

  17. Sounds awesome! I especially love the sunrise pics, and the pecan pancakes probably weren't bad either :)

  18. Sounds like a winderful day. I sure hope you get pictures of the Indigo Buntings!

  19. Wow - what a day! That was A LONG RUN! Glad Dad didn't get worried - and pancakes! What a wonderful reward :) The sunrise pictures were gorgeous - neat that you got to share that with the heron. I wish I'd been there too! That is a beautiful stretch of beach. Looks like Dad had a good day too - water on his shorts and all!!

  20. It sounds like an ideal day, Sherry. I am green with envy. We were recently in Pensacola and loved the beach and the inland waterway. But about the phone, it can be a lifesaver. I recently fell in our driveway while trying to get into our car. The driveway had been shoveled, but right next to the drive there were 8+ inches of crusty snow. I had parked close to the edge of the drive and had to stand with one foot on the drive and the other on the snow. I stepped on a sweet gum ball and turned my ankle. Once I started to tip, i could not stop and I fell. I could not get up, no matter what I tried. Now I could have scooted on my rear into the garage. The door was open, but I was wearing pink pants and knew the floor of the garage would not be kind to them. So I was grateful for the cell phone in my pocket. I called my husband and he pushed my walker to me and tried to assist me to stand. That didn't work, so he brought me a chair. With his help we got my fanny onto the edge of the chair. Once I had rested, I was able to walk indoors. I was thoroughly chilled and exhausted. Such a silly accident! People don't freeze in their own driveways, do they? You appear to be in magnificent shape and I'm sure you don't expect an injury, but they do happen. The cell phone would permit you to call your husband or 911. Even if you had only a poor signal, it might be enough to allow people to find you.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful dawn pictures. I love the birds. Pat


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