Here it is, mid summer, and we still are enjoying our daily walks over to the beach. Most of us who live on Anna Maria Island are able to walk to the beach. It is wonderful not to have to drive. The island is so narrow at the south end that the beach is never more than three or four blocks away. Farther north, the island widens and the walk increases by a few more blocks. But the only areas from which a walk to the beach would take more than just a few minutes are Key Royale and the neighborhoods near Galati Marine at the southeast end of the City of Anna Maria.
Our house is exactly a half mile from the beach. We usually make that walk and then continue along the beach, toward the setting sun before we turn and head home. The beach part of the walk is spectacular every evening. Tonight the beach was particularly wide, and the sand looked smooth and white. The temperature was extremely pleasant—amazing for mid August! The water reflected the pink/orange glow from the low sun. There was almost nobody on the beach. This is the kind of “paradise” experience for which people travel long distances. How lucky we are to be able to walk to it.
Wildlife rescue is a whole incredible world of its own on Anna Maria Island. While locals and visitors go about their business every day, several dedicated and generous people devote their time to saving the unfortunate wild animals that encounter problems in bad weather, or when they interact with the plastics, fishing line and hooks that people carelessly leave about.
One of the most amazing booths at recent art fairs on Anna Maria Island has been that of Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. What is amazing is WHO works the booth: owls. There are some good people there, too. But the owl ambassadors who sit all day on their perches are always extremely inspiring to see. They are beautiful creatures, and it’s sometimes hard to believe they are real. It’s also hard to believe that our environment still supports them. This is a treasure for all who live and visit Anna Maria Island, and nobody works harder to protect this treasure of wildlife than Ed and Gail Straight, Beth Weir, and others who volunteer at Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, Inc.
From time to time, during the last ten years on Anna Maria Island, I have contacted wildlife rescue people to come help injured birds in our neighborhood. It seems there is no job too big or too small for them. They have even come to help a tiny warbler that flew into our window. On that particular day, I remember seeing two baby foxes in the wildlife rescuer’s truck.