The light falls differently once the clocks change. It’s brighter, easier, more transparent.
Increasingly the draw-bridges are in the up position and the tops are down on the rental convertibles cruising on A1A.
After a year of living oh-so-very-cautiously, it’s promising to see neighbors with a rebounding willingness to wave hello. We still stay safe, of course, but at least we can once again share a greeting.
Maybe that’s because March and April are our kindest months. Light breezes, lingering evenings, soft sweaters around chilly shoulders. Spring.
If you are new to our coastal area and just settling into your just-purchased home, be sure to absorb this season with all your senses — marvel at the colors of the sunrise and sunset, listen to the warblers in the hedges, smell the frangipani blooms as they burst open on barren tree limbs, taste the season’s first strawberries, feel cool sand on your feet.
Soak it in. Soon these sensual pleasures will vanish into flickering heat waves, wilted linen and the ceaseless thrumming of air conditioners. As quickly as spring is gone, summer slogs along. Rain and thunder, closing shutters, monitoring the cones of uncertainty.
But even within the weight of a South Florida summer, there’s a stillness that will beg you to wander to the ocean’s edge. There, deep at night, female sea turtles lumber ashore to lay their eggs, leaving behind heavy tracks pressed into the sand as they return home to the sea.
March 1 was the official beginning of turtle nesting season. A few have already made it ashore to continue their ancient ritual of renewal. By the end of summer, hundreds will have arrived.
If you want to observe this amazing natural wonder, please check with one of the local nature centers for do’s and don’ts. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton is an especially useful resource: www.gumbolimbo.org.
Please welcome our nocturnal visitors by turning out the lights. The ones that shine directly on the beach, of course, but also the porch lights and landscape lights that contribute to the constant urban glow that disorients these majestic reptiles and their hatchlings.
As the mother turtles come ashore they are on a single-minded mission and can get tangled or trapped in anything they encounter on their way up the sand. Please pull your furniture and recreational gear off the beach and fill any holes you dig in the sand — this is important once the thousands of little ones begin to hatch and make their way to the water.
And please, no balloons. When these escape your celebration they end up in the ocean as enticing — but deadly — morsels for our aquatic friends.
As you roll out the welcome mat for the new homeowners in our neighborhoods, please keep in mind the summer visitors who need our beaches for their species to survive.
With kindness and awareness, there’s room for all of us.
— Mary Kate Leming, Editor