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The Sassy Sandpiper: Ending Estivation

M.R. WIlson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

Tampa Bay Reporter welcomes the Sassy Sandpiper back after she took time off for cataract surgery. Today, she reflects on that surgery and coming back to activity after a hot, draining summer.

By M.R. Wilson, Columnist, TB Reporter

Many of you already know I don’t like summer. If I lived in the southern hemisphere, the months of July through September would delight me because it would be winter. Alas, here I dwell in west central Florida. If I could only join ranks with East African hedgehogs, snails, ladybugs, North American desert tortoises, Malagasy fat-tailed dwarf lemurs and estivate.

Estivation is a period of dormancy, akin to winter’s hibernation, during the heat of summer to help creatures conserve energy and water, use stored energy efficiently, and stabilize bodily organs. Sounds good to me.

In a way, I have been estivating. This has been a summer of recovery from eye surgeries in June and July that were not exactly typical. Dark-eyed folks like me suffer more inflammation, which skews ocular pressure and visual acuity. Blood vessels ruptured and the cornea of my left eye was “twisted around,” causing clouded vision that took nearly a week to clear. (Please note: My case was more complicated than most. If what you need is cataract removal with new lens implants, and you don’t have astigmatism, chances are you’ll be seeing like a raptor within a few days.)

I couldn’t drive beyond my neighborhood until last week, when I got new glasses. So, yes. Estivating. Quiet days, lots of naps. Conserving energy. Stabilizing bodily organs—my eyes.

Curiously, my “new eyes” like abstract art. I never could appreciate it until now. The work of author and artist Jan Richardson has inspired me and The Art of Abstract Painting by Rolina van Vliet has instructed me. I’ve been playing with paint. Of course, the best art is knowing when to quit. I have a lot to learn.

M.R. WIlson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter M.R. WIlson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter M.R. WIlson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter








My estivation is ending as Planet Earth approaches the autumnal equinox on Sept. 23. It’s noticeably cooler in the morning, prompting a return to baking and stirring up savory concoctions of soups and stews. I feel like moving around more and get to Silver Sneakers classes twice weekly at the Lealman Exchange. I’m looking forward to instructor Karen Shubin’s completion of her Tai Chi certification. There are seasonal wonders to behold (like the return of migratory warblers) and old friends to greet at Raymond H. Neri Community Park.

I can go out to lunch (chicken gizzards at Zeko’s!), attend a writers group meeting, and participate once again in the endeavors of the Pinellas County Chapter, Network of Spiritual Progressives.

With new eyes, things are looking up as summer releases its stranglehold of heat and humidity.

Photos courtesy of M.R. Wilson.

M.R. Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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