Val and Vicky in backyard pool,
Manhattan, Illinois, July, 1965
I once kayaked out to a coral island in the Florida Keys. The sun was high and bright but the ocean breeze was cool as I headed across the small waves and deep water. It was low tide, so much more island was exposed than usual and I beached my boat on the brittle coral and oyster beds. There was a tiny sand part to the island but very little vegetation. As I gingerly stepped over the coral, I saw dozens of small tide pools. They were perfect little aquariums. I spent a long time crouched down exploring these tiny universes. There were various snails, crabs, fish, and bright starfish. There were black, spiny sea urchins and delicate barnacles. I lost myself in the remote world to which I had come, and only reluctantly returned to the populated beach on the key.