This event has been postponed to March 8, 2020 so that people have the opportunity to attend the annual Naples Ecumenical Christmas Concert.
We have decided not to hike the hills and dales this Sunday. Instead, by popular demand, we shall gather at St. Januarius church on Main Street in Naples, and enjoy the stunning annual Christmas concert. For those with concerns about the separation of religion and hiking, this is a secular event. While there may be plenty of traditional christian Christmas music, there will not be any proselytizing.
St. Januarius is 180 North Main Street in Naples, NY. It is on the northern side of the village, a 100 yards or so south of Roots restaurant and on the opposite side of the street.
There’s no meeting places as such. We’ll just show up at the church and find seats. It would be wise to come early – this is a popular concert.
The concert starts at 2:00pm.
What does July mean to you? We certainly recognize it as the middle of the summer season. On the 4th day, we celebrate a mid summer holiday. For most of us, it’s a day off work, dinner on the grill, maybe fireworks, without a thought of why. Most people seem to call the day, the 4th of July. Sounds like just a day on the calendar. What do you know about the day that this date celebrates? Have you ever read the Declaration of Independance?
In July of 1776, a group of men assembled in a building in Philadelphia, with a single purpose. They represented the colonies that were formed by the British crown on this side of the Atlantic, with the purpose of forming a self governing united nation, free of the Crown’s will. But, there was something different about this revolution. Most revolutions, in history, have been organized by representatives of the poorer, lower classes. But, these men in Philadelphia were men of means. They owned established and successful businesses and were some of the wealthiest men in the colonies. In most revolutions, the leaders had nothing to lose and everything to gain. These men had everything to lose, and nothing to gain, exept one thing.
Virginia representative, Thomas Jefferson, presented the assemblage with a draft of a document for their consideration. As often happens, disagreements ensued over petty points in the document. These arguements might have lasted for quite some time, if external conditions had not conspired to end them.
As July came to Philadelphia, a severe wave of mid summer heat and humidity descended upon the city. With air conditioning not yet invented, the only releif from these conditions, inside a building, was an occasional merciful breeze through an open window. Another factor added more to the misery.
While we may complain about exhaust from automobiles, the “exhaust” from the major mode of transportation at that time, laying in the streets, formed a breeding ground for certain flies, the females of which use blood as a rich protien scource for the developing embryos in their eggs. High temperatures shorten development time. Remember the open windows, and screens weren’t invented yet, either. As the 4th day of July dawned, between the heat, humidity and biting flies, one can only imagine the conditions inside that building. Think such conditions might induce one to put petty points aside, go up and sign the document, and go out to try to get some relief? That’s exactly what happened in that building, that day.
If you didn’t read the Declaration, do you remember the last sentence? “We solemnly pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.” This was not an idle pledge, for the British Crown came to consider the document an act of treason, a capitol crime, and all who signed the document, guilty of it.
As the men in the newly declared country fought the well organized British army, some army units were assigned the mission of seeking and capturing the declaration signers. The soldiers succeeded in capturing a few of them. They were then shipped off to England, where they were “tried” and hanged. They paid with their lives.
Some others, finding out about the advancing British army units, fled their homes, thereby avoiding capture. However, they couldn’t take with them, the businesses they had built. The British burned down everything on their property, destroying everything they owned. These former wealthy businessmen lost all they had and, although they escaped capture, they lived the rest of their lives and died in poverty. They paid with their fortunes.
And so, as we wake up on this Independance Day and start getting ready for our barbecues and other activities, perhaps we can also give a fleeting thought to that hot, sticky July day, when a group of devoted patriots walked up to the podium, to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
And a nation was born.
Undeveloped pristine beaches still exist in Western Florida. One of my favorites is Caladesi Island, one of Florida’s State Parks. Caladesi Island is accessible by the Caladesi Island Ferry which you can ride from Honeymoon Island just off the Gulf coast of the Scottish community of Dunedin, just a little north of Clearwater. At low tide, Caledesi Island is also accessible from North Clearwater Beach, but plan your hike around a little point where Mangroves touch the Gulf waters and the tides.
My trip adventure began by being dropped off at the entrance to the Dunedin Causeway, hiking 2 miles to the Caladesi Island Ferry inside Honeymoon Island State Park. (Florida State Park fee $2.00 for pedestrians). The first ferry ride starts at 10:00 at a cost of $14.00 per adult (round trip, no one ways). Last ferry ride leaves the island at 3:30pm and you need to notify the ferry captain if you are not returning. I checked at the Ranger Station to see if I could walk the entire Island down to Clearwater and he indicated that if I left now when the tide was low (low tide was at 8:30 am full moon, November 1st) that I could probably walk it. The Florida Park Ranger indicated that I would come upon an area where Mangroves touched the gulf water, and will have to walk out into the gulf. I asked how deep and he indicated it could be up to my waist. I followed the Nature Trail to the pristine rural beach and proceeded south towards North Clearwater Beach. I was all alone on the beach. The island is a habitat for some unusual wildlife species, nesting shorebirds, rattlesnakes, etc. It was once the home of Hans Heinrich Schaerer (1858-1934) from Switzerland and now a Florida State Park. Park signs indicated not to remove any shells that have life crabs in them, or sand dollars that are still green and to stay on the trail. I encountered both, took pictures and left them on the shores. I came upon shoreline birds of which I need to identify. I believe the shoreline had been untouched for a few days due to the high winds from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The tide was coming in by 11:30am when I approached the Mangrove area, looked ahead and saw that it was underwater. I decided at that point there was no way I was going to wade out into the Gulf with the pounding of waves. I took a chance to go on land and found a little marked trail through the mangroves, some footprints so I assumed it had been traveled before. I prayed that I would not encounter any rattlesnakes, saw a crab skirt into it’s hole, and found out later the mangroves are a very protected plant, should not be disturbed, and I could have been in violation. Just a short little side trail and back onto the beach and views of the beach condo’s in North Clearwater. Crab cages or pots, yellow colored seaweed, more shells, a dedicated funeral bench, a few very tanned runners, and unusual bird sounds along the residential beach and million dollar homes to the business district of Clearwater Beach. Beach Hike from Caladesi Island to North Clearwater Beach hike took 2 hours.