I will be the first to admit that I am a person of extremes. My pendulum swings wide, so my challenge in life is to strive for moderation, balance. Since returning to Sarasota I’ve been slowly sinking into a mire of my own making. It started when I had to tackle the mountain of work waiting for me – that took slightly more than three weeks and for most of that time I was glued to the desk in my bedroom, slaving away at the computer. Just as I’d finished the last of that work, the weather turned rainy and gray, trapping me in the house for another week or so. By yesterday I was feeling truly terrible – lethargic and lacking an iota of ambition, my butt sunk into the recliner and my eyes glued to the laptop. I’ve known for years that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition where lack of adequate exposure to sunlight causes mood swings. If I don’t get enough sun I begin to suffer mild symptoms of depression. I’d been stuck in a gloomy apartment with gloomier weather and my SAD was acting up.
Fortunately, the sun came out this morning and I knew that a day at the beach would be my best medicine. I drove the two short miles across Sarasota Bay, through St. Armand’s Circle, and on to lovely Lido Beach. I’d seen this beach a few months prior to moving here, but it was during a “Red Tide,” a phenomenon where algae accumulates so rapidly in the water that it turns the Gulf of Mexico an unattractive muddy brown color. Additionally, I first saw Lido Beach following a particularly rough hurricane season and there had been significant erosion; the beach was narrow, with underlying rocks exposed. So when I arrived today I was pleasantly surprised to find a broad beach with pure white sand and clear, turquoise water.
I basked in the sun for a few hours, then went back to St. Armand’s Circle, the tiny, man-made oval of land that connects Lido Key and Longboat Key. Beginning in 1928, St. Armand’s was conceived of and developed by John Ringling of Ringling Circus fame and is on the National Register of Historic Places for its unique early community planning and development. Upscale shops and restaurants surround its central circle park and the place is hoppin’, even though the season hasn’t yet begun. I ended the day with dinner at the very famous Columbia Cuban Restaurant, reveling in a fabulous seafood Paella as I people-watched from my sidewalk table. It’s amazing what a day at the beach can do for me. I feel renewed and invigorated and ready to tackle the world again.