There's a feeling of freedom in crossing the Ringling Bridge.

When I first tried to focus on a “Moment of Joy” in our current global situation, I came up empty. Then I drove west across the Ringling bridge and had that “oh, right” response—meaning, “Oh, right, it’s a beautiful day in a beautiful place.”

The bridge is always popular with walkers, of course, but in the summer heat I have not been hardy enough to cross it on foot. But cruising in a vehicle, high above the water, with the vantage point of looking down at sparkling Sarasota Bay, little boats below, soaring gulls and pelicans nearby, and a clear blue sky above, remains a thrill.

Proceeding to the keys, when I eventually come to another bridge, the one spanning New Pass, there’s a feeling of entering vacationland, the island of Longboat Key stretching for miles with its green golf courses, azure Gulf of Mexico views, resort rentals and luxury homes. That’s nice, too.

Coming back toward downtown, the skyline of Sarasota beckons, with the familiar landmarks of the waterfront condos and the lavender Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall reminding me that, even in the time of coronavirus, we do still live in a sort of paradise. I could drive the bridge every day and never get tired of it—even when there’s road work taking place or, during the tourist season, traffic backups. Sometimes, there’s no hurry to arrive at your destination. It’s the journey that matters.

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