For a long time now, I’ve had a special place in my heart for Florida.
I spent summers there as a kid, tearing around on a bike near the mangroves, coming alive in the steamy green heat. It’s a nostalgic place for me, and like most nostalgic places, it strikes me as beautiful.
Florida’s beauty is glaring: like a particularly striking woman who sports bright makeup and an orchid in her hair. You can’t help but look at her, but if she smudged off the dark lipstick and traded her red dress for black, you might notice the pool of light in the hollow of her collarbone.
The sun sliding slow over her shoulders.
The subtler magic.
I guess that’s why I’ve come to like Florida best when she’s photographed in monochrome.
The photos that follow are quiet ones, collected during a lazy, contemplative week in Punta Gorda. While there are lovelier snapshots of the sunshine state — oceans full of sundazzle, and foam-swept crashing surf — I think these represent a gentler beauty that others may miss.
Can I tell you a secret?
Over the past 24 hours, I’ve changed my phone number … and my legal name.
I’ve registered a new web domain, taken ((my own!)) professional headshot, and spent a lot of time brainstorming, scribbling, explaining and dreaming.
Let’s just say that there are **a lot** of changes in the works for me. And they’re good … (Yes, I am still married. No, I’m not running from the law.) … But change is also a little exhausting, too. Anyone who’s ever built something from scratch — or re-built something — knows what I mean.
I’ve got a lot of voices in my head, and the truth is … I need some quiet.
So I’m giving myself a challenge: every day for the next ten days, I’ll post a single, wordless photo in this space … one that I believe reflects quiet beauty.
This means no writing…
No words to speak of.
Just images, speaking softly, the way gentle images do.
For most of those ten days, I’ll be in southern Florida, drinking in the light, clearing the cobwebs from my head and making space for what’s next.
I may be quiet during this time, but please know: I am thinking of you. ❤
For the past seven days, I soaked up all the summer I could in southern Florida.
I showed up hungry for sunlight, searing heat, green. And I have to say, Florida delivered: As the car shot toward the Keys on long white bridges spanning the water, the Sunshine State rolled itself out like a green-and-blue carpet, sparkling and shamelessly beautiful.
Gulls knifed through blue air.
Sunsets melted to shades of mango and grapefruit sorbet.
Water lapped crystal-blue along the shoreline.
Meanwhile, I kept aiming my camera at that loveliness, trying and trying to capture it. And over and over again, I failed.
Gradually, I began to understand that it was all just too much for my eyes, my sensitive soul — too much beauty, too much color, too much light. I wandered around dazed and stunned, caught in sensory overload.
So halfway through the trip, I shut my eyes and opened them again. And I began to see Florida in quiet monochrome … in careful, small angles.
That was the first time I felt I could see it truthfully.
Here are a few of my favorite shots. I hope they stand as proof that small, quiet things can be just as stunning as crashing surf or a tropical sunset, if you know how to look:
Rope on the Dock – Ramrod Key
Old Church in High Contrast – Key West
Lily Pads – Hemingway House, Key West
Jumbled Boats – Key West
Still Lonely on the Strip – Key West
Pond – Hemingway House, Key West
Vanishing Point – Miramar
Pathway and Palms – Miramar
Restoration in Progress – Key West
Mirror on a Tree – Hemingway House, Key West