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Destination Clearwater: Sittin’ on the Seawall

Sitting on the bay making the world wait, for once.

I want to find a seawall and sit on it.

There’s something about sitting on the rough, angular blocks that keep the land in and the sea out that offer the opportunity for introspection like no other. I can sit watching the water hit the rocks and lose all sense of time and my worries.

While I suspect I’ll have to drive quite a while before finding a sea wall open to the public – most are in people’s back yards or other places generally off-limits to people like me who are given to wandering around outside. I glimpse one pretty much as soon as I drive north onto Sand Key. Sand Key Bayside Park greets me on the bay side of the key.

How, I wonder, have I never noticed a park I drive by every week? Clearly, I need to pay more attention. I pull into the park – plenty of parking here – and Calypso and I take a stroll around the green swales (a pretty word for “stormwater ditches”) and find our patch of sea wall at the park’s south end.

As far as seawalls go, it isn’t much, maybe about a nine foot stretch of seawall with a view to the bay. Too small? No, it’s about perfect. With mangroves on one side and a wood picket fence on the other, I feel like I’ve found my own watery corner of the world. I’m the lowest thing on the key right now, save for the lower-slung hound at my side. The rough brown fence pickets, the salty mangrove leaves, even the tell-tale girly “cheep” of an osprey perched somewhere above me – they all tower far over me. I’m closer to the rocks peeking out of the water in front of me. Calypso’s busy rolling in something in the grass behind me, likely the leavings of a recent fish–on–the–wing dinner.

Among the black bits of rocks that I am certain shelter crabs and shrimp and all sorts of hard shell goodies I see the iridescent green and silver streaks of needlefish mixed with finger mullet, picking at rocks and grabbing bits of things smaller than all of us out of the water. Across the bay I watch people working on their boats and their condos and their lives. Above me in the trees and condos, beneath me in the rocks and water, and across from me in countless homes, times swirls by me. Life rolls along.

I have no purpose today. I just want to sit. I’ve been traveling for almost a month, always heading to the next place, poking around in most of this vast state in hopes of finding vestiges of old Florida. It was fun, but exhausting. I haven’t had more than an hour or two to simply sit and waste time since August, and I need this.

There is more of this park to explore, to be certain. I saw paths leading through the mangroves and blindingly orange flowers growing next to a playground and tennis courts. I should be checking out those things. I should be wandering, going, doing, exploring. I should be making up for lost time with this lovely scrap of mangroves and saltwater amid the condo canyons.

Instead, I’m just sitting on the bay. The world, for once, can wait.

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