Angle to Key West: Ice Cream Repair (2/20)


Ft. Myers, FL – February 20, 2013

Days cut into you out here. They slice away thin pieces, translucent pieces, pieces you don’t notice until you feel like nothing but skin hanging on bones and your 27 ounce paddle feels leaden.

Nothing comes easy. Nothing. Not packing the boat. Not sliding it down the beach and into the water. Not paddling through the still ocean. It all feels like mud.

Seventeen miles.

Just seventeen miles across a flat bay on a windless day.

It should be simple, but I’ve lost so many pieces somehow, drained away in rainstorms, ripped off in the wind, melted in the sun. Sometimes I think I’ve found them all. Sometimes I want to hold myself up like a restored vase and proclaim myself “as good as new!” in a loud voice even as glue dries in the cracks, but then I have a day like today, where those jagged lines shine bright and I notice all the little pieces that I’ve never found.

And I fight for every foot of water.

But a long time ago a man in Ft. Myers who I never met promised me a pint of ice cream if I made it that far. He sent me a picture of the white tubs filled with different colors, swirls of caramel, chocolate chunks, and crumbled cookies.

“Any one you want,” he said.

And there he was, at the end of seventeen difficult miles, waiting on the beach, ready to take me to an ice cream shop, so I could glue the pieces back together again with sugar and cream. An hour later I stared at the bottom of an empty cup, six flavors gone, feeling full and happy again.

“As good as new,” I thought.

8 thoughts on “Angle to Key West: Ice Cream Repair (2/20)

  1. You sound really tired and your energy ebbs and flows from day to day. Glad that a big serving of ice cream can rejuvenate you for a while. You just passed Sanibel Island, one of the most awesome wildlife sanctuaries in North American and I don’t believe you had the energy to stop.

  2. Congrats Dan. Read in today’s Tally Dem you made it to Key West’s South Beach yesterday! Look forward to meeting you when you get home and rested.

    Paul J.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Glad you made it to Key West! Hope you got the chance to stop by Pigeon Key! It was an honor to see you off at Flamingo! Well done! ¬°Felicidades!

  4. Wish I could send some strength and energy. My husband and I have been camping and kayaking in the Keys. But with a warm bed each night. You are an inspiration to us ….your quest is admirable and your writing exquisite. Be strong, you are almost there.

    Wish I could send you some energy and strength. My husband and I have been following your blog. You are amazing. We are kayaking on t

  5. I just ran into Ben, Jerry, Baskin, Robbins and Haagen-Das. they said they met you in the Appalachian trail and then continue to meet you in all your journeys, catching up with you at least once a trip. They send the very best to you.

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