Hooper, Rich, and I arrived in Big Pine Key, Florida this morning. The locals are complaining about the 60 degree temps, while my family back home in New Jersey learns to cope with twenty plus inches of snow with more to come possibly on Wednesday. Big Pine Key is just about thirty minutes north of Key West, and the home of the famous tiny Key Deer. Today I became acquainted with some of the newest additions to the native deer population , not much larger than your average yellow lab, and Logan, the white German shepherd featured at the top of my photo gallery also known as the “wall of woofs.” Logan is a shy guy, but I am determined that we will be best buds by month’s end. I am also hoping to get to know the five dogs that have moved in next door since our last visit here! Yes, the Florida Keys are definitely “Dog Country.”
All this talk of snow during the month of February has really hit home. Last year, I completed my first Young Adult novel fittingly titled, Full Snow Moon. Native people named their full moons for seasonal occurences. As the month of February typically brought about the heaviest snow of the year, they named that month’s full moon the Snow Moon. My book tells the tale about the spirit of a young man that perished during the “Blizzard of 1888” who, in the February of 2004, comes to the aid of a young man during a modern day snowstorm. The spirit then recruits the teen to help save the spirit’s boyhood home from the grips of a greedy land developer, ultimately leading to a discovery of historic importance. That legendary storm is still the most destructive storm ever to hit the East Coast. While today we have all kinds of technology to warn us of impending danger, back then, over three hundred people who did not, perished. It kind of puts things in perspective.
In this semi-tropical land where it never snows, I will endure temperatures that will barely go below to 70 degrees, and try not to suffer! While a total of ten or so local dogs serenade me, I will hunker down and return to the business of writing for their benefit, inspired by their messages of encouragement. They seem to be saying, “Write away, write away, National Dog Week needs you!” So I will be inspired by their yelps, and yips, for they remind me about the way we humans just can’t seem to live without them.
As I suffer from Olympic withdrawal, I look forward to March madness when those Lady Huskies will make me proud to be a UCONN grad. Those players are definitely a special breed, the ultimate “working dogs!”