Walking South Beach. Walking on Sunshine.

Baby here we stand again
Where we’ve been so many times before
Even though you looked so sure
As I was watching you walking out my door
But you always walk back in like you did today….

~ Jackson Browne, Hear Come Those Tears Again


Yesterday morning. I’m standing at the western end of Lincoln Road, the Lincoln Road on Miami’s South Beach. It’s early morning, but already 80° F. Humidity is on. Fingers puffy, both feet are fuller in sneakers.

Small towners from the north, looking for adventure in Miami, found it in all the wrong places.  Weekend 1 included a car break-in after a sun drenched afternoon on South Beach.  Month 6 included a home invasion. Most would have said Enough, and bailed. But, no, this felt like home. And for 14 years it was Home.  Years later, like this week, we would return here with our family for a short annual retreat, birds migrating Home to rest.

Lincoln Road was the weekend destination for casual family dinners, soft serve ice cream, slow walks up and down the strip, and, of course, people watching.

But today’s Lincoln Road, was not our Lincoln Road.

I walk.  I’m out with Dog walkers, a handful of pigeons, yuppie Runners, and shopkeepers preparing to open.

Large money center banks flank both ends of Lincoln Road. Money Only Permitted Here.

The gray concrete sidewalks have been replaced with terra cotta slabs, sauntered on by beautiful people wearing Tory Burch Sandals and spritzed with Tom Ford’s Black Orchid scent.

The small locally owned cafes, pizza joints and retail shops are gone. The Big Brands have moved in.

Apple. Sunglass Hut.  Two Häagen-Dazs shops. Two Tumi stores. A giant Nike shop. StarBucks. Mayors Jewelry. Dylan’s Candy Bar. And a slew of clothing retailers: American Outfitters, J Crew, The Gap, Banana Republic, Victoria Secret and Lululemon.  And the cool Euro / Asian entrées: Kiko from Milan, Romero Britto, Doraku Sushi, and Segafredo Zanetti Espresso.  All polished aluminum store fronts, gleaming in the sun and shouting Money!

I cross the street to a familiar corner. A restaurant we used to frequent is gone, now replaced by a fine art gallery.

A homeless man approaches, mumbling.  He’s wearing a heavy, black sweatshirt with the hoody pulled up over his head.  Fifty feet down, another man sleeps on concrete in a vestibule.  Another 100 feet, a third man, sleeps with his head nestled on his backpack.

I’ll likely remember the three of them, but little else on this morning walk on Lincoln Road.

I walk to the end of strip and down to the beach.  Fragments of Amanda Beth Peery’s poem, posted a few hours earlier, wash over me.

I feel the world come in softly from the Atlantic. The Sun warms my face and chest. I inhale the breeze as it blows off the ocean, flapping my t-shirt, swishing the Palm Tree fronds overhead.  Waves, wave upon wave, break uninterrupted on the shoreline.

Home. Back again.

 I will remember this.


Notes:

  • Photograph of South Beach in Miami looking South: Eric Kanigan
  • Post Title “Walking on Sunshine” from tune by Katrina and Waves

Comments

  1. A beautiful beach and Peery’s poem a perfect match, but by the sound of your reminiscing, I gather your not a fan of change Mr K? 😎🏄🏾

    Liked by 1 person

  2. you can never go home again. or if you do….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Progress?? Have a great Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Walking on sunshine’ … ‘Yesterday morning. I’m standing at the western end of Lincoln Road, the Lincoln Road on Miami’s South Beach. It’s early morning, but already 80° F. Humidity is on. Fingers puffy, both feet are fuller in sneakers.’

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Never knew you used to live in Florida – had you figured as a New Yorker your whole career…

    Love the images you bring to mind in this post – I want to go to there!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t want to tell you this but all your posts about south Miami beach made us plan to give it a day or two between the Keys and Cocoa Beach last June. The 6 hours we were there were more than enough.

    And I love your Tory Burch and Tom Ford statement!!! One of 20 status trademarks that everyone has to have.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great read, DK! Yes, change is inevitable wherever and whatever humans touch … but you would recognize the feel of nature. You clearly left a part of you here in FL…maybe to return later?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I felt a bit of this when I went back to Long Beach on Vancouver Island’s west coast a few years ago after not having visited for over 35 years. The wild nature of it was still there, but now, fulllllllll of tourists (which ruined it for me), and it was hard to access through the hugely expensive parking lots, with absolutely no place else to pull off the road for a quick look. I hate that kind of change. I think if I had been on your Florida beach road, looking for nostalgia, I would have cried (and not for joy).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well now. I had no idea you had lived in Florida either… Would you believe I have never gone to Miami? Not even to catch a cruise ship. We did camp in the Florida Keys, however, staying on Long Key of all places.

    Which do you prefer? Florida or New Jersey?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh. This is SO maddening. My long comment – gone…. AGAIN

    But hey; You can keep all of it! All of Florida… Any time – this is NOT Florida as I remember it (from another life, but still!) And I would never have you down as someone having lived in Florida, you seem the archetypical NYC dweller to me.

    I only once ‚did‘ Florida, including driving down Key West…. Gave my long, long beautiful black wintercoat with hood, framed with wolf fur (that was WAHAAAAY before fur coats were a social no-no) to a begging woman, because I thought (in my wisdom of a very, very young woman) that returning to Switzerland after our 3months tour, I‘d never again need such a warm winter coat, just to have inches of snow a few days later…. = the most unusual winter ever with coal or gas burning little ovens next to the plants in the parks & gardens!!!! 😉 Typical, no?
    This trip, which, in turn, was our ‚goodbye‘ tour after our 2yr stay in Toronto – (tip for the poor traveller: Try to live for 3 months in a VW bus and touring from Toronto to Mexico and back, down one coastal road and up the other!!!) taught me a heck of a lot of experiences, but Florida especially for me was God‘s Waiting Room with those rows upon rows of trailers, condemmed to eternal ‚stay-in-place‘ parking, the wheels either dismanteled or covered up to clearly make ‚permanent homes‘ and all of them filled with old people….

    Having looked up your link, I shudder – some more! Some places stay best un-revisited!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Walking on a beach always sound nice except for the sand, we don’t see homeless people around where I live

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am happy for you and your family binging able to visit your former place of domicile…so many cherished memories & so many opportunities for new memories in a fluidly changing city-scape. /// I would like to visit Florida…though the only things I’d like about Miami would be the Art Deco architecture, seeing white sand…and maybe some of the local food. Luxury shopping not part of a vacation plan for me… My experience with the beach is zero to under ten people’s feet on the sand and I can’t abide with high rises hotels or condos lining the shore…I love the rugged beauty of a cold beach…/// We’re leaving shortly to walk along the river where the fawn lilies bow and the flood waters have receded a bit…the hubby, daughter and her boyfriend walked along two rivers last week at flood stage and at one of these rivers over the roar of the swiftly moving water they heard some slapping, the investigated, discovered and watched two Beavers slapping their paddle shaped tails upon the surface of the water…wish I would have been able to tag along…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The corporatization of America in full flush. I don’t like it, but there’s not much we can do until people realize that more and flashier is not necessarily better. Right now I think too many are still convinced.

    Here on this island, we are beginning to see many empty box stores. It feels like a portent of times to come. Nothing remains in a steady upward trajectory for long, historically speaking. And so we shall see. Aloha, David.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So agree Bela. Your thought reminds me of:

      “The speed of light is outdated,” she said dryly. “Today, everybody moves at the speed of want.”…. —want in the sense of a desire. But I also began to think of the term slightly differently, as referring to the other sort of want—a lack or deficit…But no matter the circumstances, there seemed to be this common element of loneliness, a craving for but a lack of a strong sense of human connection. A want. They rarely expressed it that way, but the more I learned about their lives, the more I could sense it, and I felt it in many ways myself.

      ~ Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2, 2019)

      Liked by 1 person

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