by Gene Benedict


December 29, 2017

We’ve heard a lot lately about the haze that has covered Cedar Key for some weeks now. Early on it was the smoke from raging fires in Mexico and Central America. More recently it has been smoke from fires in Florida not that far from where we live.

Our friend Jackie flew in from California this week. She said that from the air it looked as if most of Florida is on fire or smoldering. In the past several days men and machines have been battling a fire just east of Waldo that threatened the very existence of the community.

The other night the smell of smoke was so intense that Anne and I walked the town and the neighborhood at 3am looking for the cause. At that time of night in Cedar Key, no cars move and not much happens. We were concerned about our neighbors. Finding no local cause we returned home to the cozy cocoon of air conditioning and pseudo-safety knowing in the back of our minds that somewhere out there were people and wildlife in real danger.

My daughter, Melanie, who was here for Father’s Day and is yet here for a few days, watched the sun set the other evening. She said the sun went down “well above the horizon behind nothing.”

This past Sunday was the longest day of the year. At this latitude the sun should be nearly overhead at high noon. I tried in vain to find a shadow to see the sun to test that fact.

In April, May and June, squalls usually pass through that in a few hours dump a lot of water. So far this year, that has not happened. But a late thunderstorm did help men and machines quell the fires around Waldo, and the people who live there are now back in their homes. And Monday afternoon a brief but intense storm moved through Gulf Hammock dumping lots of water in a few minutes.

Monday evening an hour or so before dark, the wind picked up from the east and, with the aid of a new moon and a very low tide, blew the water off Sanspit and cooled the air so people could walk way out off the point, on land that gets exposed only a few times a year, in search of sand dollars. And the thunderhead behind it to the east was backlit by the sun such that the eastern sky was brighter and more colorful than the sky to the west where the sun had already gone down.          

While no rain came from this awesome display, it did kindle the hope that perhaps things are returning to normal and the fires will soon be out and the smoke will go away.  And perhaps because the squalls are late, the winter will also be delayed and we will have mild weather into January. Hey, we can dream sometimes, can’t we?          

That’s enough for now. I need to get back to the quest of finding trouble in Cedar Key.

Copyright © by Gene Benedict 29 December 2017