Little Gasparilla and Miles of Natural Beach

 

At long last, we arrived on Little Gasparilla Island feeling a little bit tired but already floating on a cloud of happiness. The island greeted us with a beautiful dark night without even a moon in the sky but that (along with starving mosquitoes) didn't stop us from going to the beach at once, well, after our glasses were filled with wine. The balmy breeze was too inviting to refuse discovering what lay just beyond the dunes, a short walk past the pond. Being so much about the sand and shore and the water, I was literally dying to take a deep breath of fresh ocean air, feel the sand under my feet and become a part (even if it's only for a few days) of a new world where time is slow with no connection to anything or anyone but myself.

I discovered the wildness of this place even while crossing the private walk over the pond that goes right from our cottage. This discovery took the form of my loud, painful scream, spilled wine and an hysterical dance as if an army of spiders attacked me. I walked right into a huge massive spiderweb of a size of a human being (I am not exaggerating!). After a 2 minute scream & dance show, I let Robert go first in case there are more wild surprises from our "little nasty locals". Obviously, I do prefer another side of the wildness. And I found it as soon as we came out of the dunes and onto the beach! The overwhelming weight of civilization with its fast pace, information strife and technological complexity vanished from my shoulders with only one touch to the nature. You know, there is nothing quite as startling as coming face to face with miles of beautiful nothingness, of undeveloped natural shore. What a magical edge of the Universe! "Is the wildness some sort of 'natural wi-fi' connecting us to a truer, more meaningful data flow?", that was my first but far from my last thought on this beach during our stay on the island.

But while there was nothing on the right, there still was a house on the left. We are not sure if we were seeing anyone alive there, truly. This house was just a gentle reminder to us that civilization does still exist and we are not alone in this world.

 

Quick Tips

Where to stay: a beachfront cottage with Old Florida charm

What to do: nothing. Enjoy the silence, a good book, and all that wilderness.


On our first morning I found myself on a front porch and I immediately knew this was the place I needed to be. The view was gorgeous and beyond what I had hopefully imagined. With a cup of tea in my hands, I was enjoying our first morning surrounded only by the natural sounds of a gentle breeze rustling in the palm-trees, of exotic birds, of the ocean's breath, of the splash of jumping silverfishes in a little pond which separated our cottage from a long desolate beach. I wanted to think art at that moment and, honestly, during the whole stay. It's funny, some of our friends were surprised about our decision to go to Florida in the middle of August when it's so brutally hot and the weather is changing the sky ten times a day from sunny-blue to deep dramatic-stormy colors. I don't know how it feels on the mainland or any other islands, but here on Little Gasparilla it was just perfect.

Each day we would start with beautiful sun light and end with either a spectacular sunset or, more often, with an impressive storm accompanied by lightning. That way it was even more romantic, at least for me and Robert. I also seriously enjoyed reading with a glass of wine or sangria on a screened porch while beautiful, bountiful rain was streaming from the sky. It was the best rain I've ever witnessed for a long, long time. Truly, at the end of a very hot, sunny day, there is nothing better than warm rain and beautiful clouds bringing a little bit cooler and fresher breeze.  

It was so quiet there and peaceful, I was falling into thinking every day - a perfect way really to disconnect myself from civilization and its tiresome mindset. Life becomes so fast and full of little, useless, pointless things that it is harder to stop for a second and think for yourself. Humans turn into information digesting machines with maybe a perfect set of skills in one area, but generally we also become absolutely brainless and soulless creatures. Thinking doesn't exist in the modern world anymore. Everything done is without evoking... anything! It feels like whatever the modern human does or creates, mostly it is an unemotional pseudo-intellectual masturbation. So each time I get a quiet minute to myself I am so appreciative to have an opportunity to think. And this trip gave me eight full days of a true brain ecstasy!

But let me tell you a little bit more about our cottage. I love houses with character. I love wood frame houses with hardwood floors, high ceilings, fans and a big porch overlooking some breathtaking view. Our cottage had it all and even more. We were so happy to have a wrap-around screened porch to hide ourselves from mosquitoes, also to enjoy the rain and reading. We had the most beautiful mornings and dinners on our front porch (it's also a great sun deck), and one night we were watching spectacular lightning from our second, smaller sun deck, which is connected to our master room. There are French doors all around the cottage opening to the screened porch and filling the room with Florida sunshine, ocean sounds and breezes, and sometimes during night, more thunderstorms. Each inside detail from decor to books shelves has been telling us little secrets about the character of the cottage making us to love it even more.

Surely, the best part of this cottage is its unique location. You can't reach the Little Gasparilla Island by car or ferry. You can access it only by a little water taxi. So there are no cars, roads, shops, restaurants, and no annoying and noisy tourists on the island! This cottage is also the only house on the island that borders the protected state park, beach and lagoons. We had a private walk down to the beach over the pond. And it was simply beautiful!

As there are no restaurants or shops on the island, we bought groceries prior our arrival to the island. We cooked all our meals in the cottage (well... to be honest, my husband cooked). Everything was very simple.

Honestly, during our stay on Little Gasparilla nothing impressed me as much as the thunderstorms blowing through the island. One of the thunderstorms in particular was severe. Everything was so silent before the storm, no wind in the trees, no birds, only a weird feeling of something huge and unknown coming. It felt like the whole world was holding its breath. The air was hot and full of moisture until the moment when, a strong wind from nowhere began to blow and brought a cool breeze and dark clouds filled with anger but still looking so light, calm and beautiful. I was stunned. The light was magical while the golden rays of sunset were sinking into horizon under the dark power of the clouds.  

The storm reminded me freedom. I am not sure people believe in freedom nowadays. It feels dated. Compulsion and social obedience is the rule of the day (existing not living!). Sometimes I feel claustrophobic living in a society of forced patterns where people for some strange reason feel safe. Nobody does anything except working. Social media and the same opinion on everything or everyone shows that people want nothing but mirrors around them. The whole world seems to use the InterNet to hide from their own emptiness. I fell in love with thunderstorms because they made me feel free of those compulsions and patterns. As each storm was so different and so damn breathtaking, so too were my heart and the thoughts in my head! I didn't take pictures of all of the storms as I was just too busy enjoying them.

Then it rained and the sky disappeared in the darkness. Only lightning strikes were continuing to fire up the sky every other minute. And the thunder was so loud, our cottage was shaking. I was scared but at the same time exhilarated. The view from our porch was amazing. Robert and I were sitting in the lounge chairs under the screened porch with glasses of sangria quietly enjoying the anger of nature (well, sometimes I would make a loud scream, the lightning was so close and so bright). And then, the storm would vanish as if it never existed while the rain kept going all night.

We define civilization as the development of human society, marked by progress in the arts and sciences. Well, let's look at modern art, let's see what sciences gives us today. I can't really call what we create and use in our daily lives a civilization. Can you? Shouldn't civilization mean a broader way of thinking and looking more into the spiritual realms which frequently only make themselves felt in a natural setting?