A Roar Turns to a Stretch and a Walk Becomes a Float

When we initially considered the Bay Shore House party I attended last night, Chris Forsha and I, who share August 4th with President Obama as a birthday, were thinking a bit more of a repeat of last month’s party, which needed an encore the following night. We were thinking of calling it the Lion’s Roar and celebrating all things Leo. As it was, it was more of a Lion’s Stretch as we all gathered around in lawn chairs and listened to the musical stylings of the Jake Pinto Trio and the Fatim Brothers’ Jazz Orchestra. The party started much earlier than the last one and the age bracket screwed a bit higher, but it was great to meet some incredible new people, hang out with good friends, and enjoy some really great music. Just another one of the reasons I love living in Sarasota.

Another one of the great things about living here, especially in my new digs in Gillespie Park, is that I’m close to places like Savory Street. They opened about a year ago, and I’ve always enjoyed the coffee, food, and service. And while I am able to make a cup of coffee for a guest, when Joe Shirk arrived for a visit today I realized that I didn’t have an actual cup in which to serve it. So it was a nice place to go and talk for awhile.

Joe and I have found many similarities in our talks in the recent past, and he was one of the first people to come with me for a scheduled float, one that melted  into a miraculous sunset, and one of those life changing experiences that I try to make a regular event in my daily life. We are also both on the Advisory Board (I think they changed the name to “Working Board” or something because we’re too opinionated) for the ManaSota LETS local alternative currency program being developed by Transition Sarasota. Joe has really done his homework on economic systems, as have all of the members of the Board, and while his recent transition to unemployment from another Main Street establishment trying to tighten its belt has him itching to take off to Brazil and live in the jungle, I think that our talk today gave him a little more hope in what a local economy can do to create the life he wants right here. After all, I seem to be doing it for myself… now if I can just figure out how to make everybody else in the world happy, we’ll be set to go.

As it is, I’m hoping to make the local music industry happy with the video I’m putting together on The Closet’s Benefit concert the other night. Although Sarasota’s newest premiere musical venue is currently weaving its way through the labyrinth of city zoning to plant roots in a location of their own, they have still managed to bring music to a number of other establishments. This time it was Sarasota Lanes.

Erin and Michael Murphy, she of the Equines and Bard and Moustache – he of the Equines and a regular fixture at The End of the Dial Tone Radical Experimental Collaborative Band Band – and both of them the brains and brawn behind The Closet, needed a little help getting the money together to travail the aforementioned web of fees, forms, codes, and taxes. One of the most miraculous things about the Sarasota music scene is the bond between players and the desire to see one another succeed. The result is a tightly knit, supportive community of artists who just want to play good music and fans who just want to hear it and celebrate the buoyancy of life fashioned by collaborative creativity. In addition to the Equines, other local bands whose diversity of sound doesn’t lend so much to a particular Sarasota style, but whose kinships are creating a sublime community, were The Huntsmen, Black Bear Affair, IGOR, Fancy Rat, and Sons of Hippies. Each of the shows was stellar in their own right and videos will be coming soon…

Sherry Rule suggested an evening walk across Ringling Bridge on Facebook this morning so being the responsible sunset watcher that I am, I scheduled my arrival to catch the most color in the sky with the possibility of reaching the apex at 8:14 to watch the sun go over the horizon (I take my sunset watching duties very seriously). As it was, I arrived a little early and I think the drizzle of rain that fell as I was leaving the house might have scared people off. As I was walking up the bridge, there were moments that it felt like that Times Square scene in Vanilla Sky. Other than the cars, there was hardly anybody else there.  Nevertheless, I chained my bike to the clean up sign donated by Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System (I felt it was suitable as I’m a former employee in good standing), and had a nice walk to the top. However, I walk enough just getting around. What I really wanted to do was float.

So I walked back down the bridge, down the embankment, narrowly skirting the “Private Property” sign as to not be detected by the video surveillance and ensuing release of the hounds, left my shirt and keys on the rocks, and stepped out into the water. Since Brooke Burke showed me where she’d been stung by a stingray a few days before, I made sure to shuffle my feet until I got to a good floating depth. Then I lay back into my baptismal bliss, closed my eyes, and just floated.

Happy to find a new place to float peacefully without the long ride to the Bay Shore House, I wondered about the few people that I did see walking the Bridge. It seems that I see a lot of people in Sarasota who look at the water, and a walk across the bridge certainly gives you that. But I don’t think many Sarasotans really get the tranquility that comes from actually getting into the water and letting it embrace them. I’ve had the chance to go swimming in pools lately, and it’s just not the same thing. There really is something healing about the waters of Sarasota Bay. I’d really like to get more people out there floating.

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