The snowbirds don’t seem to have returned to Florida yet. Well, this one has, but I seem to be the exception. The October calendar in the park doesn’t list any activities for the month, and when you go to the pool you just might be the only one there. I went to Tarpon Springs thinking I’d do some street photography, but the streets were emptier than I’ve ever seen them. Maybe they are all still up north, waiting for the pretty foliage. And my photographer friends seemed to be rejoicing about the return of the birds to the area, but I haven’t actually found them either. It’s a lull. Crowds and traffic will be arriving soon. And so will the birds. I need to enjoy the moment while it lasts…
A favorite author of mine is William Least Heat Moon, and my favorite book of his is Blue Highways. What struck me when reading this book was his descriptions of the land and scenery as he drove the blue highways on the map, purposely avoiding the major roadways to better appreciate the country and the people who populate it. He was describing what he saw in his travels, but his descriptions showed me a connection to nature and the land that was so different from my experience. Was it his Indian heritage that connected him in that special way? I thought so.
I’m currently reading his River Horse, and have been for months. It’s in Kindle so I can resurrect it whenever I feel like it, and I’ve forgotten about it for weeks on end. In it he is attempting to cross the country by river, which, it turns out, is a much more complicated undertaking than I ever would have imagined. But just now I came across a passage that really spoke to me. He was quoting the famous Lakota holy man who says in Black Elk Speaks:
Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave us peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance.
I’m certainly not an Indian, and not a deep thinker, but those words struck me because I saw my own journey into the past as a completion of a circle. And I don’t think that having made the connections that I made on my trip has closed that circle in any way. The heart-warming whole that it created is still with me…
I have to approach Aripeka from the opposite direction since I moved. And if I hadn’t set the GPS I’d have missed the turn in the dark. So I came upon this scene first. Considering that it was quite overcast I was encouraged by the sight.
But it become obvious after a bit that the sun was actually going to come up on the far right of this shot, so I moved down the road to Hammond Bridge.
There was such a nice sunrise developing that I nearly forgot to turn and check to see the reflected sunrise. When I checked again a minute later the sky had lost it’s glow. And this bridge is where I used to see One-Foot Fred, but I didn’t see any herons today. That was the only disappointing thing about the morning.
Sunrise is an hour later here in Florida, so getting out there for the big event is less of a challenge. It was a good way to start the day, but it went downhill after that. I washed the camper and was given my official parking spot for it here at the park. But I had a heck of a time getting it hitched up to go park it. I mean a HECK of a time. I’d still be out there attempting to hitch it up if my uncle hadn’t come back from golfing and helped me. It had to do with the driveway being on a slant, but still I should be able to do it myself. Anyhow, parking spot #1, we finally got it parked and unhitched. That’s when one of the landscape crew showed up and asked if that camper was going to be there full time. I told him full time but off and on. Then he said that he was surprised that they gave me a spot that turns into a swamp when we get a lot of rain. You are a woman, he said, they probably shouldn’t put you where the snakes are. No, they shouldn’t. I plan on telling them what I think of parking spot #1 tomorrow. I can hardly wait to hitch it up again to move it…All these birds flew in and landed at the same time, it was quite a sight…
I’ve never taken a trip as long as the trip I’ve just returned from, so I’m not an expert at knowing if it’s always a let down to finally get home. But it was. Maybe it was the fact that I felt like I limped home, what with the broken trailer jack and all. And feeling dirty and smelly and dying to take a nice hot shower, and finding no hot water, that wasn’t fun. The water wasn’t stone cold, but it sure wasn’t what I had in mind. Then I went to my son’s house to pick up the mail that I had had forwarded to his house while I was gone, imagining bringing home a whole box of mail to sort through, and he had exactly FOUR pieces of mail for me. In five months! The post office had been returning all my mail as undeliverable. There was no replacement credit card waiting for me (I never did find the one I cancelled but didn’t think I’d really lost it, just misplaced it). There was no dividend check from Publix, just a letter wanting me to make my ‘new’ address official. My primary care doctor had become a specialist while I was gone, so he couldn’t be my primary anymore, which was disappointing since I liked him a lot. And I now needed to find a new doctor asap since I had just taken my last blood pressure pill. Maybe that’s what made me so frustrated with all of this, no more BP meds. I might have thought that the lesson I’d learn from all this would be to never go away again. But no, my immediate reaction was to want to just run away… but then there is the issue of the broken trailer jack.
I woke up yesterday and started tackling the problems. First I called my go-to plumber, Billy the Sunshine Plumber. The first time I needed a plumber here in FL I called them because their name cracked me up. They are absolutely great, which is why I called them the second time I needed a plumber, and now this is the third time and my uncle is now a believer. Not only did they solve my problem, but they installed the kitchen faucet I’d bought before I left and then forgot about. But better than that, they suggested I call UHaul for my trailer jack problem. UHaul couldn’t help me but they told me to call Rentz LLC, and I bopped over there and they fixed it on the spot, the best $55 I ever spent.
I’m feeling better now, maybe it’s the nice hot shower. Or the fact that I got a new doctor, and my credit card will be delivered soon, and Publix knows where I live. Just another example of needing help and finding it, and finding out just how nice people can be.
Yes, I had decided that I wanted to visit Skyline Drive again. It had been a day trip from my home in Maryland, and we did enjoy driving portions of it and taking pictures, but that was a very long time ago. And we didn’t do the entire drive. I had forgotten the details, except that we once got a short glimpse of a bear while we drove through. And, it occurred to me as I drove it on Friday, that I wasn’t the driver on those trips long ago. No, Charley was my chauffeur, so the day wasn’t as exhausting back then. Or it was my age.
I started the day in Coventry, RI, and stopped for pictures at The Community Bridge in Frederick MD, which had me approaching Front Royal, VA, the northern access point, about 2 PM. And that was before I bounced the car and trailer over some RR tracks and caused the camper to become unhitched. The trailer jack was now embedded in the road, and before I could even get out of the car to see what the heck had happened two very nice drivers were already on the case. They got the trailer jacked up, they got me hitched up, and I was on my way in no time. Physically anyhow. Mentally I was listening to every squeak and groan of the camper and expecting disaster any second. I started the 100 mile, 30 MPH drive, at 3 PM. The light was harsh, there was a lot of haze, and the views from the overlooks were repetitious. My chat with Bob set me back further, and once I left him I mostly glanced at the overlooks and skipped getting out of the car. But as I drove further I realized that the overlooks on my right, in the west, were becoming interesting. The sun was getting lower and the clouds looked promising, so I quickly hopped out of the car, took a couple of HDR images, and moved on. Eventually the sun was low enough that I worried that it would slip out of view before I got to another overlook. But I was relieved that I did see the sun actually set, and was able to leave the southern point of the park while it was still light. I found a gas station where I burst through the door and asked the gentleman.”Where am I”? He replied, loudly, and in his best Southern drawl, “Ma’am, you are in GOD’s country, Waynesboro, VA.” For a tiny little town it had the essentials, a Panera where I could plug in the computer and have a bite to eat, and a Walmart where I could join the other campers overnight. My issue with the trailer hitch had me heading for home after that. I had hoped to camp and spend several days exploring, but since I couldn’t unhitch the camper there wasn’t a point. Maybe next time…The southern end of the drive is where the deer crossing signs are, and the deer were there, just not crossing. And a sign that said “high collision area”. Not a thrill to see when you are tired and hurrying so as not to be in the park on those roads in the dark. And the last thing I saw was a bear, just off the side of the road, and he scrambled away. He was a cub, quite small. I wonder where Mom was???