On December 17, 2011 our family left the snowy, high plains desert of Idaho, and moved to Southwest Florida. I am grateful to live surrounded by the wildness of the sea, nestled within nature, on this little jewel of an island called Sanibel.
A barrier island made of crushed shell, Sanibel is home to the largest undeveloped Mangrove ecosystem in the US. Almost 70% of the island is protected wildlife sanctuary. Historically, many far-sighted folks have worked to keep Sanibel from going the way of so many ‘vacation’ destinations. This is a place where it is perfectly normal for traffic to stop so that a Snowy Egret or Gopher Tortoise can make its way safely, and in its own time, across a road. There are no traffic lights on Sanibel, no drive thrus, big boxes or fast food. Every business on the island is locally owned and operated. The speed limit here ranges from 10-35 mph, and though it took some practice, I no longer feel ‘hurried’ to get anywhere faster than ‘island time’.
Here at night, unlike most modern cities, you can see an infinite number of stars in the heavens as there are no artificial lights to restrict your view. Again, a conscious decision made to protect the natural environment for the benefit of creatures who were here before us, in this case, nesting sea turtles. On this 12 mile long, sub tropical island, we live amidst a staggering abundance of flora and fauna. Every day, my explorations of Sanibel are a beautiful confusion of the senses. This journal is my way of sharing some of what we discover, see and learn.