Nice place.

June 13, 2016 § 4 Comments

Any place we claim as home has, and has not.

The place I claim has squirrels, armadillos, and raccoons, but no giraffes, onagers, or kangaroos.

Magnolia Cemetery, Apalachicola, FL.Except for bears, which the legislature is considering opening a second season on, our fauna is small and barely stands out in the landscape.

Trees are a different story.

Our live oaks are burly with spreading limbs. Fingertip to fingertip it takes several of us to hug the tree in my father’s back yard. The oaks are the landscape–every place does something bigger and better than the average. We do trees.

You won’t hear us brag about our climate, which is ninety percent heat, ninety percent humidity. It may not add up but its true. Both settle in for months, refusing to budge. Just when our brains reach a slow simmer, abuzz with heat-induced confusion, a cool breeze blows through, and it is winter.

We break out the sweaters. We put away the flip-flops, except for our college students who remain tan and summer-dressed year round. That leaves us with plenty of flip-flops on cold days.

Half of us are college students. That half fills their Publix carts with pre-prepared foods and soft drinks and makes the sweater-wearing half want to adopt them and give them nutritional advice. They make our town vivid and full of optimism. They up local beer consumption too.

IMG_1419_edited-2By virtue of the star beside our name on the map of Florida, we have THE LEGISLATURE, a puffery of crusty indoor creatures who, at least under this administration, are dangerous to living things. Like bears.

A fine moon hangs over us at night. Stars too.  Just a little bleached by man-made light, our night skies are pretty enough. No auroras though.

Despite the claim that our city, like Rome, is spread across seven hills the place is pretty darned flat.

No canyons or purple mountain’s majesty, no views that take your breath away or make you want to send a postcard.

Roadside flowers are a splash of yellow coreopsis. No fields of poppies. That’s Italy too.

IMG_6488_edited-1We have water. In vast quantities, but we don’t flaunt it.

Here we stand above an aquifer held in the stone honeycomb of the karst.

Its water bubbles up in springs and cold, cold rivers.  We are short on waterfalls, and the beautiful Gulf is someone else’s. They don’t mind if we drive over and visit it though.

We have a southern slowness. Must come with the heat. No clipped encounters here. No throbbing ambition. Few neckties.

We have football, and more quietly, science and the arts.

We have kids in plastic pools and dogs, lots of dogs. Four out of five are pit bulls.

We have okra and collards and tea so sweet the sugar falls to the bottom as a sandy grit.

IMG_9508_edited-1We have more than our share of guitar pickers, singer-songwriters, and festivals named after animals and fruits. Even that lowly invertebrate, the worm is celebrated in these parts.

We don’t do spectacular. But that’s okay. Spectacular is for vacation.

What we have here neither stirs a hot fervor of descriptive adjectives, nor wordlessly oppresses the soul.

But the simple arithmetic of this, plus this, plus this adds up.

The resulting sum is, nice place.

Think I’ll stick around.


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§ 4 Responses to Nice place.

  • craig reeder says:

    what we have is a kind of quality of life that is hard to pinpoint but it is precious. and I ain’t leavin’ !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Speaking as your singing partner, I am glad you will be sticking around.

      Part of the charm of being here is that it is not a place that wears you out. It is not too crowded or fast or competitive. Here we have time to think.


  • KM Huber says:

    A rather spectacular post for this place you and I call home, both having moved here from not only distant but rather distinct places. It is nice here, comfortable and gradual, like discovering you’re on top of one of our seven hills. You’re just sort of there and then you’re not. I, too, intend to stick around. Lovely, lovely piece, Adrian.


    • I like that phrase, comfortable and gradual. I began in New Jersey, a place that generates disrespect and jokes, but you began in Wyoming, a place that generates post cards and vacation plans. I sure am glad you found your way here.


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