Photo essay: Lemonade

Abundance of suggestions offered to help people make it through the especially rainy season

Inconvenient? Yes. But every drop of water counts. We need all the rain we can get to refill the Floridan Aquifer. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

Right now the storms seem endless. They awaken us at night and assault us by day. If the air conditioning in our houses is not quite up to par, shoes in our closet take on a green veneer. Is that a “Drip, drip, drip” from the weak spot on the roof?

Here are some ways to make lemonade with this oversupply of “lemons”:

  1. Get into bed and stay there until Nov. 30, when hurricane season ends. You could emerge a little early in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
  2. Break out the galoshes, raincoats and umbrellas. Carry a mini-umbrella in your bag at all times; keep a big one in the car to pull out when needed. Equip yourself or not, as the urge takes you.
  3. Be a duck! Get out and enjoy the rain! Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Run out the door. Huddle under a big umbrella or just let the raindrops pour down upon you. Breathe deeply. You will get a huge energy boost. The air doesn’t get any cleaner. If you hear thunder, head for cover. Thunder means lightning, and lightning travels a long way.

  4. Sit by a window and listen to the raindrops. Appreciate the fact that you are dry.
  1. Escape to drier climes. On the internet you can dial up weather virtually anywhere on the planet!
  2. Look on the bright side: Rain cools things down and it replenishes the Floridan Aquifer, our source of fresh water, which underlies the peninsula. Because so many people are moving here, the pool has shrunk about 50%.
  3. ‘Big Cloud Days’ will be gone all too soon. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Plan next winter’s vegetable garden. When folks up north are buried in snowdrifts, you will be making gazpacho with your new crop of tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. You can dream of a gorgeous ratatouille.

  4. Late afternoon thunderstorms are the norm. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Avoid “gloom and doom” TV, movies and books. Treat yourself to your favorite music. Listen to an opera. Create your own personal playlist.

  5. Try Singin’ in the Rain. My neighbor Gloria Flynn did this the other day while putting out her garbage.
  6. A little “afternoon delight” will not hurt.
  7. Enjoy a pyrotechnic sunset after a day of thunderstorms. These displays will not last long. It will be back to the “humdrum” red ball into blue Gulf. Aren’t we Floridians spoiled by summers?
  8. Become a cloud watcher. Florida summers produce three layers of clouds that float by in different directions. They take on fantastic shapes and colors.
  1. A great white heron navigates sheet flow at Carlton Reserve. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Instead of going to the mall, scope out porches open to the public. Osprey Library has one with rocking chairs and reading material. You can sit out a deluge, as I did the other day, soaking it all in while staying dry. Some parks have pergolas to shelter in. Meet a friend at the indoor/outdoor Banyan Café on the Ringling Museum grounds overlooking Mabel Ringling’s rose garden; admission to the garden is free if you are just having lunch.

  2. Frogs are lovin’ it. They take advantage of the influx of water to mate. Many are endangered species affected by pollution and habitat loss. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Frogs are lovin’ it. Check out Florida frog calls at www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu to find out whom you are hearing.

  3. Monitor rivers and streams. This is the height of annual sheet flow across south Florida, attracting fish and birds. Watch out for alligators, which are traveling to out-of-the-ordinary places, such as flooded trails in parks.
  4. Sunflowers thrive in wet places. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Do you want to see dragonflies in their mating dance? Tarry by retention ponds, ditches or any sizeable puddle.

  5. Birds are here to cheer you through all kinds of weather. This time of year, shorebirds are back on the beaches; migrants are arriving. Eagles are back, getting ready to produce the next crop.
  6. In summer, the sky is the limit to colorful sunsets. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    How about taking in a different kind of shower? The Perseids just came through on Aug. 12 and 13, but we look forward to Southern Taurids (peak will be Oct. 9-10), the Orionids (peak, Oct. 21-22), Northern Taurids (peak, Nov. 11-12), Leonids (peak, Nov. 16-17) and the Geminids, the biggest meteor shower of the year, which will be peaking Dec. 13 and 14.

Weather permitting, the members of the Local Group of Deep Sky Observers are gearing up for their first meeting on Sept. 7, from 7:45 to 10:30 p.m. They will set up their telescopes in the parking lot on the east side of the Nature Center at Sarasota’s Celery Fields.

  1. Dragonflies mate in midair; the female then lays eggs in or near water. The eggs hatch in about a week, and the young spend months or even years in freshwater ponds and streams, preying on insects before they morph into adults and take to the air. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

    Heavy rains flatten sandy trails in parks and on the beach, making the going much easier.

  2. The calm after the storms is not too far off. Barely two months from now — late October — hurricane season will be on the wane. No real rain for months. Yards dried up. Mildew banished. Streams and rivers back in their banks.
Is that an alligator in my back yard? Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

In parks, along roadsides, in your yard if you have planted native species, the great burst of wildflowers will astonish you.

If you are a birder, take the bird walk at Myakka River State Park. The best time is late fall through winter. Plan to arrive an hour or so before sunset, when the birds congregate before nightfall.

Something to look forward to: the late afternoon bird extravaganza at Myakka River State Park. Photo contributed by Fran Palmeri

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