Posted by: aauntiem | April 8, 2010

Green World

I have never had a snow white Christmas. Growing up I always wanted to have a Christmas like the ones I saw in Home Alone or Charlie Brown. In Florida, most Christmas Days you may wear shorts and BBQ on the back lawn.

But, Florida has its very own kind of magic. Every spring the entire world here becomes blindingly green.

Every shade of green.

So green that it makes your eyes hurt.

Green (that when mixed with the whitewash sun of a 98 degree afternoon) forces the eye to squint and makes sunglasses mandatory for retina survival.

Saturday was the first time I pulled out my contracts in almost a year.

I hate contacts.

I hate retina failure even more.

We went out on the boat about a month ago on this random Sunday when we were graced with warm weather. It has been seasonally cold and rainy this year and my family took the first opportunity it could to take the boat out. Then, the river was still buried beneath layers of brown and the trees mostly stood naked. As the sun was making its way across the sky in the later afternoon of that day we sped back down the river– the temperature was diving.

This weekend, the very same river was transformed.

It was alive with color.

Out there my insides get quiet. I only hear the sound the water makes as the boat engine gurgles and glides through it.

Out there there isn’t room for anything but the biting overwhelming blindness of the sun

that meets the shockingly green world

and dips into the brown water.

Out there it is only the smell of the tannic acid,  such a good smell for me. A smell like home.

My river is brown because of the acid. The tannic acid from the moss covered cypress trees that line the bank giving my river its smell and allowing the water to trick the eye.

My river looks brown.

But is really clear.

The water plays tricks on the eye. It is sneaky-trixie. Just like a Shakespearean green world, anything can happen out on the river and the sometimes the whole world gets flipped on its head.

But, behind the illusion its just science. The water is just tinted because the saddest tress in all of the world, and the most beautiful, take up residence on its banks. Cypress trees have roots like caverns that sprawl up and out over the bank and bend from the pressure of all the hanging moss. They also expel acid into the water. Their acid gives my river its muddy looking waters. I call them the weeping trees.

My river was also home to great Florida women writers. They traveled her tannic waters. They wrote of its beauty. They made themselves into legends by talking about this place, my river.

In her book about my river Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings writes that:  “We were bred of earth before we were bred of our mothers. Once born, we can live without mother or father, or any other kin, or any friend, or any human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it” and she goes on to say  “It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought. It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time…”

On my river time does stand still. And even when I am surrounded by zooming boats and skiers I feel alone out there. Alone, but connected. Like the comfortable silence of home.

As a Sagittarius and daughter of my father, I was born of fiery passion. But in my heart, I am all water.

Saturday was the first day of boating season for my family and I had forgotten how much I missed the river. I was homesick and didn’t even know it.

Wondering what is your home away from home,

AuntieM

p.s. Check out Rawlings amazing book about cooking the food of Floridian River Folks, Cross Creek Cookery

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Responses

  1. Wow I enjoyed all your photos it’s really great! I love the last photo of yours it’s very wonderful. I hope I could also see it personally. Thank you! It’s all green and refreshing I hope we can preserve the beauty of our environment. It will be a waste if it will be spoiled and abuse.


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