After almost 24 hours of solid rain that dropped over 15 inches on Tarpon Springs it stopped. We were not the worst off as we are right next to the water so all the water quickly went back to its place. My cottage bungalow almost seemed like something out of the English countryside with a punting canal in front of it.
As soon as the tide went down (as the picture above is at high tide with the torrent barely stopping for ten minutes) the waters receeded to display a little bit of my damage. The mulch was swept away and shallow rooted bromeliads that had been interplanted amongst the hibiscus, had floated off around the garden and the river. The garden suffered from being water logged for too long and some plants have wilted and hopefully will recover. The plants that have wilted are mostly non natives which serves again to indicate where the bulks of plantings should be in any garden. The house is fine and never appeared at risk - this time!
The culprits in all this mess were the pickups pictured in the first picture who were having fun driving around looking at the devastation and trying to get award wining journalism images with their Best Buy video cameras. The results were wakes of which you can see the remains above where mulch and plants alike form a layer like bathroom scum along the lawn.
|Street Access to Safford House Museum|
All in all, the next day left pockets of water around us where natural saddles in the landscape held water. For the next two days showers continued sometimes producing continued downpours but limited to an hour or two. Today, more than ten days after the storm, the newspaper is still discussing a major toll roadway where the State is pumping out millions of gallons of water a day and the road is still underwater - so much for engineers.
|Old Sponge warehouse floating above the street turned river|
The innocents in this entire affair are dead manatees that drowned and a whole generation lost of Loggerhead and other turtles eggs that were washed away from their nest in our beaches. For the most part we had few casualties and it is better than burning or boiling as it appears is happening elsewhere in the country.
|Members of the UU Tarpon Springs with banner designed by yours truly|
Just a week after all this maelstrom the weather is fine and the sun is baking again and people are getting on with their planned lives. For us Unitarians Universalists we had an engagement to march in the St. Petersburg Gay Pride Parade on Saturday June 30. Members from our Church joined other UU congregations "Standing on the Side of Love" to send a clear message that we stand for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Although some of us are gay most of the Unitarians Universalist marchers are not.
|Members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregations|
It was hot, sunny and breezy which made our day that started at the crack of dawn setting up two booths, long and tiring. There was but one of our members in his 70 who had to be ferried off in a car when the heat got to him from marching, but kudos to Chuck for believing in the cause.
The parade attracted more 80,000 people, according to the newspapers, and although not a large number by comparison to other places I have lived, it is the largest such event in conservative Florida. Members of different Unitarian Universalists congregations manned the booths and had lots of fun with the very diverse crowds.
As typical, advertisers trying to support and make a buck off this affluent community were there with their typical symbols.
Other advertisers chose more innovative ways of getting their products placement out to the marketplace!
Given, the crowd there was bound to be spoofs on just about everything. A local Eurobar decided to parade its moniker about and have lots of fun in the process.
Esconced on the back of a pickup (the preferred vehicle in Florida) and giving us a little wave this character kept a lot of us laughing. But this was no laughing matter. We were all there because we had to support one another in a world that sometimes is less than supportive and although we have come a long way to achieve recognition and some freedoms there are many that would like to turn back the hands of time or individuals that stick their head in the sand expecting others to earn their freedoms for them.
As a young man I grew up in California and remember Gay Pride Parades San Francisco and in Los Angeles where millions came out in support and you got goosebumps from how proud you felt to be a part of those communities. My business took me to New York City where Pride is like a national holiday and the characters that come out on these occasions are often as daring and outrageous as possible. No matter, the reasons for their outrageousness were always for the good of the community and we needed some laughter during all those years when the AIDS epidemic decimated so many of our friends and peers. This crowd Saturday looked tame by comparison to some other pride festivals I have seen. Maybe the more we are accepted the less we have to stick out to make people recognize and respect us. We have come a long way but there is still a way to go. Happy Gardening!