Reality, freed

Welcome to winter on Captiva Island! I took this photo in January, 2012, but we're going there NOW.

Welcome to winter on Captiva Island!
I took this photo in January, 2013, but we’re going there NOW.

“Trapped by reality, freed by imagination.” — Nicolas Manetta*

Okay, the holidays are history now.  The winter has set in, and it has been pretty COLD lately for most of us.  Time for a quick getaway.  Come with me a lovely little spot on Captiva Island, Florida.  I’ll set the scene for you.

Everyone is invited.  Bring your seashore wardrobe and towels.  We’re all enjoying a day at the beach this sunny, warm afternoon. What beach, you ask?  This one:

Captiva beach scene Jan 2014

It’s fairly deserted as usual, except for us, of course.  We’ve been diligent with the sunscreen, so we can spend several hours out here, chatting and beach combing and dozing and reading some great novels.  If you get thirsty, head back up to the house just over the dunes. I’ve got iced tea waiting.  Plus lemonade and fruit punch, if you don’t like tea.

Captiva neighbors

No, not THAT house!  Go a few doors down…

Our beach house, Captiva Jan 2014

Yes! THIS one.

You can spread the seashells you collected out to dry on the table on the screened porch.

Seashells on table

Then we can stroll into town and pick a spot to eat.

Captiva street

After dinner, we can go outside and watch the sunset.  Bring a jacket…it’s cool on January nights, even here!

Sunset on Captiva Jan 2014

Time to head back home now.  Thank you for flying with us on Imaginary Airlines, where we go anywhere you want to go, for free, and there are never any delays!  See you again soon.

*I was unable to find any information about Nicholas Manetta, only several places that attributed this quote to him.  Maybe he is a figment of someone’s imagination.


  1. Julia, you do it marvelously with photos. Some people seem to be driven to return to the same peaceful setting physically. But psychiatric research has indicated that empiracally measurable stress reduction (e.g. lower blood pressure, better sleep, etc.) can take place when a person meditates by “going to” a peaceful location in their mind. Obviously, this takes longer than a few seconds, but with no more than minutes – even a half hour, before sleep – wondrous effects upon the soul can occur.

    • Eric, thanks for reminding us of that research. I have seen several interesting studies of that very effect, and my own experience bears them out. It’s astounding and a bit fearful how powerful our minds are. “As a man thinketh, so is he.” All the more reason to “take every thought captive” and defeat despair, along with fear, anger, malice and other destructive (though sometimes perfectly reasonable) emotions. I don’t think this is escapism, as long as one does not deny the realities from which one is taking refuge. It’s quite possible to see things for what they are and still refuse to be destroyed by them.

    • As the author F. LaGard Smith once said to me, “that’s it, isn’t it?”
      I mean, in this context, that’s the essence of the existence of this blog.
      Isn’t it?

      • Absolutely! It’s why I started the blog over two years ago, and wrote 730 CONSECUTIVE daily posts!

      • Eric, I’m reading “The Daily Bible” with commentary by F. LaGard Smith. He makes the history of the bible come to life. 🙂

        • Merry, Jeff gave me that Bible years ago and it remains my favorite of all the versions. I read the entire thing in one year and even with the commentary, it was the most enjoyable one-year Bible reading I ever did. I need to read it again. I have tremendous respect for F. LaGard Smith.

        • Merry101 – LaGard’s preacher-father died at the age of 63. It was always a dream of Frank Smith to have a Bible completely in chronological order – not just the books, but as you notice, the text jumps between the four gospels ( as some events are recorded by three, but not the forth, for example).
          LaGard undertook this herculean task, largely in honor his father.

  2. Oh, how lovely! Thank you for this delightful reprieve!
    I think I can smell the salt air … I wonder if that’s why people used to be sent to the seashore to recover when they will ill, years ago. Maybe the salt air really does kill germs?

    • Susan, I think that there must be some medicinal effects to the sea air. It certainly cures my psychic germs, I know that from experience. That vast, lovely ocean, so powerful and mesmerizing…I’m glad you enjoyed our little mini-break!

  3. Ann

    Wow! Julia, you’ve out done yourself with this one! The lovely photos mixed with your words led me on a wonderful walk on Captiva Island. Thanks for the respite from the gray, rainy morning 😊

    • Thank you Ann! I enjoyed our little trip too, as we have a gray rainy morning today here also. At least it’s just high enough about freezing to prevent worse problems on the roads…

  4. Thank you for the trip to Captiva. We enjoyed a visit to Sanibel and Captiva in 2002. Have a wonderful time!!! Florida is a great place to be in the winter.

    • Cherie, I’ll stop by your place for an imaginary cup of tea on my way back next time. 😀 I think a winter getaway to Florida or another warm place would be a great employee benefit to offer – but I doubt we will be seeing that anytime soon, as the boss might justifiably fear his staff would not return! Hee-hee.

  5. Mary Ellen

    What a pleasant “good morning!” We’ve lived at the beach most of my life. When my son was young, I’d tell him or come home when the clouds turn pink…. Thanks for the trip on Imagination Airlines Julia!

    • Mary Ellen, I love that! “Come home when the sky turns pink.” PERFECT. I hope your son appreciated growing up near a beach. Ours seemed to take it totally for granted. I’ll never forget hearing them say “do we have to go to the beach AGAIN?” I tried to explain to them that some people lived their entire lives never seeing a beach, but sometimes it’s hard to get kids (or anyone) to appreciate the treasures hiding in plain sight. Thanks for going with us on our little jaunt.

  6. Sheila

    Oh, Julia! That was a fantastic getaway and I seldom do IMPROMPTU! We’ve recently commented that when we go over the dunes here in Garden City, the beautiful beach is for ALL to share. It doesn’t matter if we came there from the simplicity of the quaint cottage or the beach mansion with 10 suites. Our imagination does free us in so many ways. Just imagine, it’s limitless! ☺️🌊🌊🌊 Thank you!

    • Sheila, I’m glad you were willing to visit the seashore with us, since you get to enjoy it every single day. Yes, imagination is limitless, as our Club Verandah proves. Meet me this afternoon on that lovely Italian porch on Salina Island! 😀

  7. bobmielke

    Baggage fees?

    • No baggage allowed on Imaginary Airlines! Leave everything behind; everything you need will be provided.

      • I wish one could just click “Like” on an individual comment. “No baggage” with all its meanings – fantastic!

        • I’m doing my Barney Fife sniff-sniff here. “I’d like to clarify this:thanks!”

          • Sheila

            I’m laughing! 😂 It’s been awhile since that come-back, come-on comment. It’s the Eric & Julia MOMENT! 👏👏👏

            • Sheila, a trivia question: do you remember the film from which the “I’d like to clarify this” line came? It wasn’t said by Barney Fife, but by another of Don Knotts’ unforgettable characters. What a national treasure that man was.

  8. hilzonsix

    Thanks, Julia, for the trip to Captiva. It’s been many years since we visited there but still have wonderful memories of that visit. Thanks for the grand tour! Blessings!

    • You’re welcome, we enjoyed your company and are so happy you liked the trip!

  9. Refreshing! So glad you got to get away to just breathe, enjoy.

    • Thank you, Cynthia! It is always nice to hear from you. Thanks for being here.

  10. Oh, I love Florida! thanks for the trip south, Julia. I needed it here in the River Valley, a cold, damp wind is blowing.
    I like St Augustine FL…even with all the tourists. 🙂

    • Merry, St. Augustine was the first place I ever saw in Florida. We when there when I was about 8 years old, and I loved it. I have always wanted to go back, though I never have so far. It would surely be nice to be there this week! 😀 Stay warm.

      • Hint to Sheila on the trivia question: scary organ music plays in the background.

        • Another hint: the character I mention appears on Knotts’ bronze grave marker, a photo of which I linked in the comment. P.S. I’d like to clarify this: the scary organ music isn’t playing in the background when the comment is made. 😀

          • Sheila

            😂 Keep the clues coming so that I can keep laughing! 😂

            • OK, here’s another clue – this one is almost a “dead” giveaway — no pun intended! “Atta boy, Luther!”

              • Sheila

                Oh, I may have it (but I hate for this fun to end)…. “The Ghost And Mr. Chicken” ???

                • That is correct! (As Alex Trebec would say.) And if you saw that movie, you know that “brave” is short for “brav-er-y.” 😀

                • Sheila may have as crazy a past as we do, Julia?

                  • Oh, surely not!! She doesn’t seem as abnormal eccentric quirky as we are. It’s not only Gomez that made us identify with the Addams family!

                    • Sheila

                      Still laughing! 😂 Can a family be eccentrically normal laced with quirky uniqueness?? That pretty much sums it up for my household. Bill grew up more like the “Father Knows Best” series or even “Leave It To Beaver”. Those were just such fun times though! 👏😍

                    • Sheila, that’s a pretty good description for us, if you throw in some Mad Magazine weirdness. 😀

  11. I love imaginary airlines! Thanks for the ride! 🙂

    • You’re welcome! We might just be heading your way sometime soon! 😀 I’ve taken many Imaginary Airlines trips to Africa, since I have been unable to go there in reality.

  12. MaryAnn

    AH! The beach sounds, the warm sun, the soft sand AND the water on my feet! Thank you for this “journey” to my favorite place: the BEACH!

    • Mary Ann, wasn’t it fun? If I ever make it back out there to see you and we go into the city, we’ll have to go by Crissy Field for a picnic, and then over to Ocean Beach…

      • MaryAnn

        PERFECT! Ocean Beach is where the teens & I did our 1st Beach Clean Up Day. We did it for years, even took my grandchildren w/ the teen group. It is in Sept. each year, I have not been in a while, but we always “clean-up” whatever beach we are enjoying.
        I will be happily, lovingly, impatiently waiting for your arrival! (Brain ran out of adjectives: you know I want to see you!):)

        • September is a great month for that, since San Francisco is warmer then than in summer. My memories of Ocean Beach are all of chilly days and jackets. But I love the beach in any sort of weather. I’ve been saying for 10 years that I was coming back there, and I haven’t given up. I’m sad that I didn’t make it in time to see Elizabeth one more time, but the photo she gave me of her and Olive is still on my desk. Maybe I will make it back out there someday!

  13. Sheila

    Julia, a funny story regarding my day, well sorta! Jack went with me to the spa, for my manicure. He had been out in the yard (and rain) and I had to go into Myrtle Beach and my window of time to figure out what to do was 60 seconds. No way was HE coming into 428. The only thing to do was shout, “Load up!” and he jumped into our Jeep. 👏 What’s a girl to do?? 😉 I’m sorry that he didn’t get his hunting trip, but my nails look good! 😂💅💅

    • How fun! I can just imagine Jack plotting “How can I manage to make SURE she lets me go along when she leaves?” Whether intentional or not, he surely figured it out! Maybe you should have had his toenails painted.

  14. Carol Hoyos

    What a lovely respite to our harried days and restless nights. Thnx, I’ll return often. 😌

    • Thank you! I am so happy you enjoyed it. I could have used a trip the beach today too, but my day was consumed with (what else?) computer problems. Harried days definitely lead to restless nights for me. I need to hop on an Imaginary Airlines flight again soon.

  15. That was great fun, Julia. What a lovely place to spend time. I smiled at your sunscreen comment. I’ve spent my life hiding my pale skin from the unforgiving sun.

    Great pictures to go along with your story-telling.

    • Thanks Alys! I wish that I had spent my life hiding my skin from the sun. Unfortunately, I was a serial sunbather from my early teen years, and through all that time, and in adulthood with tours in California (twice) Hawaii and Texas, never one drop of sunscreen! I paid the price later, having extensive sun-damaged patches lasered off my face in 2004. It was painful, but it seemed worth it because my brother had recently had melanoma and had to have surgery on his own face. We are thankful his was caught in time, but now I’m a believer. A total compulsive about sunscreen. We can pass it back and forth while you’re here! I always keep a little bottle of it in my purse. 😀

  16. Rene

    Oh, I so needed this vacation today! Sorry I arrived late, but happy I was here in time for the sunset. 😀

    • Rene, your timing was perfect! I’m so happy you were able to join us on just the right day for you. That’s another great thing about Imaginary Airlines: as the old Delta slogan used to say, it’s always “ready when you are.” 😀

  17. Nicolas Manetta

    Nicolas is not a figment of anyone’s imagination. He is a highly intelligent and creative teenager. We appreciate him getting credit for his quote you were able to use. Thank you!

    • WOW, what a delightful surprise to hear from you! I’m very happy to learn of the real-life Nichoas and I would never have imagined him to be so youthful. I hope we will be hearing more from him in years to come. If he has a blog or a website, feel free to send along a link in a comment, so we can get to know his work. My practice on this blog is to link readers to the authors of the comments via their own websites and/or sites about their work, but I could find none for his quote. Thanks so much for letting us know about him!

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