nic·ti·tate

animal, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(v.) to wink

Whether you’re a bird or a human, a nap during the day is pure luxury. It only can be accomplished when there is nothing urgent to be done, when there is time to relax and shut out the world. For me, though, the best part of a nap is when I wake just enough to recognize that I am no longer sleeping and slowly become aware, but not yet a part, of the world around me. In this regard, I envy birds and their third eyelids.

mi·nus·cule

animal, Key West Field Guide, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(adj.) extremely small

Mini beach combing finds on a penny

On solitary walks, I tend to get caught up trying to remember the names of the flowers, the sea beans, the sea shells, the wildlife. Each familiar plant or animal gives me a friendly face to greet.

I’m never lonely in nature, even when I am alone.

But occasionally, the world seems too big, too crowded, too busy, too much.

ru•der•al:

vegetable, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(adj.) growing in disturbed areas, on waste ground, or among rubbish

I live on a 2×4 mile chunk of dead coral that protrudes only 18 feet above the ocean. The cost of living is exorbitant and the competition for housing is fierce- for both people and plants. Many of our most common wildflowers aren’t much different than the humans in Key West- we both put a lot of effort into living in paradise.

de·his·cence

vegetable, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(n.) the spontaneous opening at maturity of a plant structure, such as a fruit, to release its contents

IMG_2417

I’ve always considered myself more of a bee than a squirrel – it’s the flower, not the fruit, that catches my eye. With this plant, however, everything BUT the flower shouts out for attention.

io moth caterpillar showing anal and abdominal prolegs

ap·o·se·mat·ic

animal, vo•cab•u•lar•y

(adj.) conspicuous and serving to warn

It never fails – find a hairy caterpillar with kids and they always claim that it’s “the one that stings!” To be fair, this one was virulently green with black-tipped spines and a bold red stripe- it certainly looked a bit dangerous. Never having met this beauty before, however, I decided to test the theory.