I have some parting words that Ive put together for my sowal friends. Probably too many. But if you have the time, you might enjoy it. Btw, Ill be gone on Monday. And yes, I just returned from the water. One last visit, and wow, it was cold! I wrote a bit about it under the 'Strange Sea Find' thread in the Nature category. Well, here goes. The past two years have been a mixture of emotions so pure and raw that sometimes its been hard to hold them. Ive experienced the highs of adventure and the thrills of discovery. The Walton County Woods and the emerald clear waters have been my home. And it has been my pleasure. I assure you. I have found solitude. That, I needed. I have talked to myself when I walked among the pine and magnolia, the oak and the scrub. I have also listened. At times, I did nothing but walk, only to find myself, hours later, still walking, still searching. And I have found things. Ive taken pictures and Ive made films. Sharing my wild encounters through the video format, both with you and with my children back home has been a treasure for me. A blessing. Ive battled brush and briars. Ive trekked through thick entanglements, fearing my next step would land on poison. Ive trudged through snake infested swamp as the sky grew dark and Ive wondered, will I make it out alive? Ive had the sky pour dark, mosquito darts down and into me, threatening my sanity and leaving my body swollen. It made me walk faster. And I always made it home. Ive seen coyote and deer shoot off before me and bounce away and stride. Ive watched Diamondback rattlers appear where my eyes had not noticed them before. Their thickness and color was so beautiful and magnificent to watch. The exquisite designs were so perfectly placed on their skin; I had to ponder about their creator. And the diamondbacks were all so calm. Their demeanor was belied by what I knew would happen if its fangs found penetration. But still I touched it. Ive seen pygmy rattlers at every turn and moccasin thick like arms, bearing their fangs, ready to dip their reptile horns into my flesh. Ive been struck at and narrowly missed by cottonmouth that felt they had warned me enough. But I respected them and left them all unharmed. I only captured them on film, and shared them with others, hoping their beauty could be appreciated and honored. Ive seen turtles hatch on the beach and watched them find their way to water. Ive seen sunsets that no painter could find on a canvas and no photographer could paint into my eyes. Ive seen star filled nights that blanketed the darkness with brilliance. Ive seen moon covered skies that echoed themselves onto the ocean. And yes, I know its not an ocean. But it is to me. Ive been hungry and thirsty and walked for miles after already having walked for miles. Ive been lost. Ive snorkeled for six hours straight. Ive felt timelessness and weightlessness in waters pure and golden. My veins absorbed the emerald beauty. Ive drank salt through my pores; So much so that later, during my meals, all food tasted bland. And Ive poured myself out. Ive written my words. I wrote a book, erotic and not for everyone. But sexy and full of love. Ive penned a couple nice articles for the Emerald Coast Magazine. Ive written some other things, but mostly Ive been so involved with passion and discovery that all else fell to the wayside. Ive shared secrets with tourists that I thought deserved it. Ive cleaned beaches that other people did not respect. Ive handed out shells to children who reminded me of my own. Ive enjoyed seeing the childrens wonderment at how exactly I could have found what I found. I became someone they would long remember meeting out at the beach. Out on their family vacation. I was someone special. Ive had locals and tourists alike who thanked me for my video contributions. They remarked on how it brought them closer to nature, or reminded them of younger days when they too visited the forests or swam in the deep blue. They appreciated seeing things they otherwise would not even know existed. It made me feel I was contributing. It gave me a sense of community. It helped me along. But Ive been lonely, too. Yet Ive made friends, some with just weird names on sowal.com that I never met but would have liked to. Ive seen bikinis walking and talking and have fallen in love with perfection. Visual perfection. Only to fall in love again five minutes later, and then again five minutes after that. And yes, I know that is not love. But it is one heck of an emotion. But speaking of love Ive loved my kids. Ive had them over for holiday visits and summer stays and weve swam and played. During their first visit they gave me the inspiration for a magazine article. It was one heck of an article. My kids and I have thrown Frisbee in the Seaside amphitheatre and had cold, colorful snowballs at Frost Bites. Ive felt so small because I wanted to buy us all our own, but my budget mindset would not allow it. Ice can only cost so much. I wondered if they thought less of Daddy. But we shared. And I liked sharing with them, even if we all couldnt have the flavor we wanted. I was close to them. I could see everything about them. Every nuance. Every everything. I was in love. I showed my kids the dune lakes when the lakes were full. Weve also seen them shallow. And weve watched the lakes send themselves out to sea with formidable flow. Weve paddled and fished in them. And weve kissed under the Florida sun. Ive made music for my children and sang to them so they would know how Daddy felt in the flavor of a song. Beautiful creations. Lovely inspirations. All for my children through my heart. My only heart. Weve peddled bikes up and down along 30A and through Watercolor trails. Weve walked and talked and Ive watched them find more snakes than Daddy. They are amazing. Ive loved 30A. But missing my kiddies has outweighed all else, so I must return. But they miss this place already, as I do, even before Ive gone. 30A to them was a dream, as it was for me. I ponder about it all. Some days recently Ive gone down by the beach and, as if pinching myself, Ive said, I lived here. I actually lived here. And I did. I have videos and pictures to prove it. And my kids know it because theyve had long visits here with Daddy. But soon, they will have more of me. I will be with them. Where, I do not know yet. I travel back with no job and no place to live. My life following my divorce, maybe before, has been well, a lot of things. And for a time, it was 30A. For those of you who wrote to me or appreciated me in any way, thank you. But for now, I have packing to do. And trouble with my trailer lights. And worry in the pit of my stomach. And wondering what Ill do when I arrive. Where Ill stay. How Ill carry on. How Ill mentor to my children. What kind of example I will be. I worry a lot. The woods and the waters were my get-away. My refuge that I will no longer have. But I will have Evan Michael and Mikelynn Brooke. And just typing those words makes my rib cage flirt with butterflies. Bye-bye.