Last year for spring break the wife and I decided to go to the Florida Keys. It was our first time to visit and it was so much more than we imagined. So when the annual hiatus from education turned up again the choice was obvious. We packed up the family truckster again and headed south.
Somewhere around Homestead a familiar song came on the radio. Kokomo by the Beach Boys began to play and I had to chuckle a bit because I knew that soon we would be in Key Largo and I would have to begin my search for that “place where I want to go to get away from it all”. This is the American dream, to spend the majority of your time working so when you get some vacation time you go looking for relief. It seems a strange way to go about things to me, but I could tell by the steady stream of cars ahead of me that I wasn’t the only one on this quest.
I’ve spent the early part of the week clawing and scratching my way through traffic to get to the beautiful places that the Keys have to offer. I have noticed that, if I’m not careful, I end up in a rat race here just like at home headed to work. It seems that I’m not alone in this regard as well, which is apparent by the scowl on the faces of my fellow travelers.
This morning I got up early and headed out to see the sun rise. Our condo faces east so I knew it should be good. While I waited I noticed how peaceful the water was as it lapped against the shore, more like a pond at home than the ocean. A few seagulls were patrolling the area, no doubt looking for breakfast, although I like to think they were there because they heard I was in town. I have a few mocking birds at home that visit me the same way. Then the sun came up, although obstructed by some clouds, but I didn’t mind because it really helped to enhance the colors that poked through. As beautiful as it was, I was reminded that this was the same sun that climbs up over the hills around home. In that moment of beauty and familiarity, I found a little serenity.
Later we took the kids to swim with the dolphins. I’m not sure if they understand how blessed they are to get to do that because the best we ever did back in the day was to dog-paddle with the catfish. This evening my wife asked my son if he had a good time. He said that he had a great day, just like all the rest. You see, in his mind, as wonderful a time as he had swimming with the dolphins, it was still just another day to be enjoyed, like all of those happy days before.
I do not wish to cast a negative light on the overwhelming magnificance of the Florida Keys. This place has been touched from on high with a brush stroke that is like no other. I will return here again if I get the chance. I do want to caution you, because I like you so much, that I still haven’t found a physical Kokomo here. This evening, though, I think the simple mind of a thirteen year old boy may have opened up my soul to the truth about such a place. I think that Kokomo is a state of mind. It’s not in the Caribbean or the South Pacific but it is a place in the heart. I like the sound of that better because that means we all can go there. It also will save me a fortune in gas.