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Bends and Turns

Bends and Turns

Lori Zavada

No one was at my special place along the Perdido Bay coastline last Sunday. Everything was still and quiet except for the soft whir of Mother Nature’s sigh. I dragged my kayak through the sand to the water’s edge and stood there taking in the perfect morning. The waves weren’t even awake yet, but I felt alive and grateful.

Six months ago this place was taken from me. It became a restricted area. Flung into a pandemic, I never saw it coming, the loss that is. I missed this place. I needed this place.

The water was bath-tub temperature and my paddle formed a small wake as I headed toward Dupont Point. On the way out, dolphins appeared just ahead. Even when feeding, they are gracious, happy creatures. Funny how they can bob straight up, with such control, and then gently round over to pursue unlucky prey below.

As as I rounded the seagrass edge a flock of least terns held hands and gently pressed off the sand to form a crooked yet flowing line against the clear blue sky. The Cicadas’ vibrating screech provided background music transporting me back to the 1800s when Indians took this route via canoe.

Slowly gliding with the morning current, I moved closer to investigate the shoreline. Tiny mollusks clamped down on the seagrass roots. A shelf dropped down where the water turned black. A blue crab scurried into the darker water to hide. Giving me the typical sideways glance that all crabs do, I suppose he may have thought I wouldn’t notice! No worries little guy. I’m vegan.

Egrets perched atop wind-ravaged tree stumps like spires causing me to sit a little taller in reverence of their beauty. A group of birds shrieked amongst themselves like women in a beauty shop leaving me to wonder if they were making fun of me or just sharing laughable memories in a language I didn’t understand.

It’s amazing the connections we make in life. We connect to people and pets, but also to the gifts of the Earth. Life is a series of bends and turns just like the bay and river and just around the corner, a miraculous moment awaits us. Experiences can be harsh or soft, quiet or loud, warm or cold, mysterious or understood, but in the end, they are all reminders of the things for which we can be grateful. As our world slowly reopens from Coronavirus, may we all be better for having been restricted.

Life in the Time of Corona

Within weeks after March 11, 2020 World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, West Florida Literary Federation offered its writers a catharsis. By April, regional writers were submitting words and images to preserve this time in history. The ongoing project began with Phase I, a special edition of The Legend published in May. It featured more than thirty juried submissions. Life in the Time of Corona continues with Phase II, updated as submissions are accepted. Here are the voices of health care workers, poets, essayists, historians, and the images of artists and photographers, documenting this time in Northwest Florida's history. The ongoing project ends with the advent of a vaccine or declaration by the World Health Organization.

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