Monday, November 1, 2010

Sanibel Island Through A Child's Eyes

Though I am kind of embarrassed to have left this blog sit idle for so very long, I really had to write this post.

For several years, I have been gifting books about Sanibel to the little boy of my second cousin.

He is an adorable little boy, precocious and precious and, like his mom, very fascinated by animals and nature. He is not yet in school, but as articulate as a first grader and as good a reader as well.

So I have given him the wonderfully educational book put out by C.R.O.W, the calendars with extraordinary photos of the birds of Sanibel and, most recently, the book DILLO which tells the tale of a baby Armadillo living on the island.

His mom has told me that every night for the past year, he insisted that she read him some pages from DILLO before going to sleep. He now knows what comes next, and like those fans of cult movies, can recite the words out loud simultaneously with the reading.

When his birthday was coming up, mommy and daddy offered a trip to Disney World as his gift, having taken him to the various natural museums on previous trips. He (remember we are talking smart young child here) said he wouldn't mind going to Disney World but that he would like to get to the Bailey Tract on Sanibel where much of DILLO takes place. In fact, truth be told, he stated that if he had to choose, he would prefer Sanibel Island over Disney World.

Well mom and dad are no fools and it was an easy choice for them. Why deal with the crowds in Disney World when the beach beckons and Sanibel is not yet inundated with winter warriors and snow birds? And so the 3 of them came to Sanibel.

And they walked the Bailey Tract, rode their bikes through Ding Darling, got up with the sun to gather shells on the beach and rejoiced in the calm, gentle waters of the sea green Gulf. They visited C.R.O.W. and the Periwinkle Campground Zoo, marveled at the tropical birds at Jerry's, went canoeing and took a boat cruise to see the dolphins dance.

Each night they ate out or in and then told stories on the lanai about adventures taken and imagined.

In short, it was a magical experience, for all 3 but especially for my precious little third cousin.

Weeks have gone by, and when ever and where ever he can, the little guy expounds on his experience with Sanibel. Ask any question...."what birthday gift did you like the best?", "where would you like to go?", "where would you like to live?", "what would you like to do next year?" and the answer is always the same.

Sanibel Island.


Cedar Key Cindy said...

What a wonderful story and what a terrific legacy you're providing for this boy. Perhaps he'll be a wildlife biologist or at least he will have an appreciation for the wild joys of Sanibel... :-) Thank you for sharing Sylvia!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words, Cindy. I must admit I am greatly inspired by the book MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS which I read a few years ago. The true story of a curious little boy who grew up to be one of the noted zoologists of our times.