I live right off a main road that starts at the ocean, (if you see the ocean as the beginning of things), and reaches inland, due west all the way to the Florida Everglades. As you go west the shopping centers drift away, the named communities, the billboards. You go under the turnpike and past the piles of colored mulch, the nurseries that grow the trees that fill in the named communities. The fences go from metal to wood, the scrub they hold in gets wilder, thicker, tangled up. And then the road ends, its completion punctuated by three red reflectors mounted on an aluminum bar. Beyond it, the swamp, the alligators, the illegally released pythons, the sea of grass. To the right, the park, as close as we can get to the 'glades before the solid ground gives way.
Mom and I went there to walk yesterday evening, because, after a day, a string of days, a string of weeks where everything was within arm's length, we needed to be someplace where our eyes could stretch out,
and the sky made everything small.
The roads and paths there left the grid and wove a little,
through clusters of cyprus trees
and there were just our footsteps, and insect whir, and red bellied woodpeckers taunting each other, our own talking, and other sounds we didn't recognize, (distant whines and buzzing),
that turned out to be, after a turn,
a tiny dirt track for tiny dirt cars,
a man and his miniature helicopter,
(it also flies upside down)
and at the end of this paved road, a very small airport
where a very small jet plane came in for a landing.
But after all the whirling and jumping and soaring and buzzing,
we walked back where we started,
and the shadows turned blue, the yellows lit up.
The water was edged with deep green and purple,
rimmed with shells,
(my shell now),
and welcome to alligators.