I have heard, all my life, stories of people who have lived in the same town for a very long time (often their entire lives) without having visited local attractions. I don't know for a fact that it's true, but I've heard it so many times from so many different sources that I assume it is a fact. Folks who live in the San Francisco area but have never been to Alcatraz or perhaps St Louis residents who have driven past the "Gateway to the West" but never stopped to check it out. New York residents who haven't been to the the top of the Empire State Building or lifelong Bostonians who haven't bothered to walk the Freedom Trail. You get the gist of what I'm saying.
I suppose those folks either aren't interested in things they consider 'touristy' or maybe it's more a matter of them thinking, "it's not going anywhere, I'll get to it some day". And then someday never comes. It happens. But I know for sure that I never want to regret a missed opportunity. And that is what it seems like to me.
However, I want to make it very clear that to me, not every opportunity that is turned down is doing to met with excitement. Some well be met with a resounding, "nope". If, for example, someone said, "Hey, let's go parachuting ! Or Bunji Jumping! Or Race Car Driving!" my response would not just be "no", but rather, "Hell no!" There are some things that I just do not need to try to know that I shouldn't be doing it. I will not die unfulfilled without that experience. I know me well enough to know that skipping out on a chance to jump out of an airplane is the same thing has choosing to not have a heart attack that day. No thank you Very much please.
But most things - most non adrenaline related things at least - are worth checking out at least once. That's how I feel about it anyway. Which is why, on this past Sunday, while just taking a drive, we stopped at the John Ringling Causeway Park.
It is tucked in between the road and the bay very neatly. Barely acknowleged as existing by us, it is a slender slice of green twixt the grey and the blue and we pass it every single time we drive to St Armand's Circle which recently, is fairly often. St Armand's circle is not only an area of Sarasota that we find particularly appealing but one of my doctors has an office there and over that past year, we have been there far too often. This time, Tim took a hard right and suddenly there we were.
We jumped out of the car, eager to check it out. From that vantage point we could see the bridge we just crossed over, Sarasota Bay and glimpses of St Armands and Long Boat Key as well as the little park itself.
As we walked along the little path we noted benches and a covered picnic area and discovered, to our surprise that the trail goes under the bridge to the other side and an entire other little green area that we had no idea existed! Lovely!
I happened to have my camera with me and took a few shots. These photos are a little more "artsy" than what I usually show you but it's what spoke to me that day :
There was still some fog in the distance though the sun had come out and was burning most of it off and the temperatures delightful. While this is a very touristy time of year, there were few people in the park so we could make really see everything. Things like the very artsy bridge with it's scallops and curves, the peek a boo views of the bay and the buildings that sit beside it. We enjoyed the palms and mangroves and the birds that were curious as to what we were doing. I loved the little surprise extra park whose path wandered under the bridge of course the bay which was dotted with sailboats. It's the sort of place where in spite of the near constant sound of traffic, it was ridiculously simple to block out that noise and just sit and watch the water. Ahhhhhh, relaxation!
We didn't spend a long time there, but I'm so glad we finally stopped to see what there was to see. Hopefully we will continue to discover wonderful little treasures and we will never have the regret of missed opportunities.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.