Shelling Grounds

Click on any image to enlarge.

With friends on the Anhinga Trail, Royal Palm, Everglades. Bob is the one on the right.

A bottle of beer, a beach of shells, a sunset, and thee.
Photo credit: Linnaea Pyle

It’s true! He is — and there, and everywhere. More than 10,000 miles so far — but in an old Civic instead of an old red truck. Long may she run!

As for this Robert, he began his business at 9 with a little fruit stand, bought his farm at 14 — and he’s still here!

The best key lime milk shake conceivable — I had two!

A dental emergency drew me to ultra-affluent Naples, Florida for a day, and to this pub afterward. Not exactly a NW brewpub, and Florida lager is no IPA — but better than Novocain. And the kind dentist, Dr Alan Rembos, tipped me off to the Crooked Garden in Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers — one of the best I’ve ever seen. Amid oceans of nectar and a flurry of butterflies, I saw 12 species, including queens, zebras, and orange-barred sulphurs the size of small birds.

Sanibel Islands, 14 March
Biologist and writer David Campbell kindly lent me his house and car on Sanibel, Florida’s famous “shell island.” Much of it is the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. I fondly remember Orion’s Forgotten Language Tour stop here, and saw our signed poster at the nature center today — Janisse Ray, Nels Nelson, Pattiann Rogers, Peter Matheissen, & self. Thea flew out to join me here for a week. Phenomenal birds, herps, plants, and — yes, butterflies! — at the Corkscrew Swamp Preserve. Big Cypress, & Everglades. And the storied shells on the beaches here!

Still cool & showery, so mosquitoes few — but a sufficiency of Lepidoptera. I feel I’m really on my way!


  1. What a great treat it is to visit this blog and view these little works of art that Robert is so ingeniously providing and Orion adroitly mounting for us.

    Names of visited places, and the fetching souvenirs found or fashioned and transmitted from them, activate memory-sparklers, some from “the days of long ago.”

    The modesty of means complements the flair of these (occasionally droll) missals deployed our way. For me, they bring to mind discussing, during storm Robert shared with us, Vachel Lindsay’s poem-mementos [collected at Rutgers in case Robert should find himself thereabouts — are these comments reaching him in his internetlessness?], parting gifts/payment to those with whom V.L. sheltered as he followed the harvest — or attempted to, all too soon finding his intention defeated by rapid mechanization; — following still mostly unpaved roads in thin-soled shoes he preferred, so as to feel the terrain underfoot . . .

    [In case comments do reach Robert, I’ll report that butterflies continue sparse in west-central California’s vacillatory weather, unseasonal dryness seemingly March’s one constant; and that on April 1 a Mourning Cloak alighted on a clump of grass beaded with water (residue from hose-spray) it imbibed; the same day year’s first Vanessa cardui visited thistle, almost certainly placing eggs (eggs for which we’re watching most intently, however, are those of pair of red-legged frogs lodged under stone in birdbath basin).

    [May Maria Sibylla Merian’s birthday — April 2 — have been most propitious, and may her surmounting spriteliness gracefully guide your Big Butterfly Year.]

  2. Those are great pictures! It really helps the readers like me to connect with his journey. Not many people have the opportunity to travel the world and make an online diary of their experiences. Hopefully I can read more about his exploits.

  3. What an excellent cure it is to check out this weblog and perspective these little performs of art that John is so cleverly offering and Orion adroitly increasing for us. free netflix trial account

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