Two friends, a world apart? Or not?


On Saturday, a dear friend who lives in Tampa sent me a quick message, saying she and her hubby were going to drive out to the beach to enjoy the beauty of that amazing place before it is no longer perfect.

It was a hot day, and Candy really hates the heat, but this was something she felt compelled to do. A couple of hours later, Candy sent me pictures of Anna Marie beach.

Beauty destroyed

It is so breathtakingly beautiful even in photographs that I cannot imagine standing there, taking it all in. And I can’t even begin to imagine the sorrowful way it may look in the weeks to come as oil washes ashore there. It is sickening to contemplate.

The white sand of this incredible place is like nothing I have ever seen, seeming too perfect for our world. The photograph Candy shared with me captured the most incredible turquoise-blue water, with the lovely blue sky overhead offering a little glimpse of how beautiful heaven might be.

A world away

The nearly cloudless sky had only tiny swirls of white, an artist’s final touch. When I sent Candy a message, thanking her for sharing a bit of her gorgeous world with me, I happened to mention that my day was most definitely a world away, as I watched my Amish neighbor boys climb the cherry trees out my back window, picking the cherries that we had offered to them. It was great to listen to the boys laugh and chatter as they went about their work.

It was a blisteringly hot and humid day, but they didn’t seem to mind a bit. They are used to working hard on their farm, and they said climbing trees to pick cherries sounded like loads of fun.

“It’s gonna be fun to pick cherries instead of strawberries,” one of the boys said with a grin. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched them clamor up the ladders in their bare feet, throwing a leg over a sturdy branch to reach the cherries. Their laughter was great to hear as they went about their work, never taking a break from what they had come here to do.


When their father brought the boys in the horse-drawn buggy, ladders of various sizes loaded for the job, he noticed something growing in our front pasture that caught his eye.

“Is that spearmint?” he asked.

When Doug told him he was welcome to it, he couldn’t help but inquire what in the world he wanted to do with it.

“When we are lucky enough to find it, we add it to our grain harvest. We have found that it keeps the bugs out,” Dan explained.

He was thankful when Doug told him to take as much as he needed.

No matter where we live, there is such beauty on this Earth to be enjoyed.

Revel in nature

On this farm, alone, I revel in the beautiful songbirds, the wildlife darting about, the lush green of the grasses and the trees. I watch the horses in the wide-open pasture, sometimes running and showing off, other times quietly munching on grass.

Candy describes the beautiful and exotic birds of Florida, the occasional sighting of an alligator, minnows in the ocean darting about at her feet. In many ways, our lives are worlds apart, but we share our amazement in it all, the daily surprises that come our way in a bounty of nature.

The beauty of this world is such a gift, and one we should try to protect for generations to come.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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