...or tries to...

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Tropical Storm Isaac is far enough away, but his flailing forearms arms are soaking us with wind and water. This is the kind of weather that forces you to stay inside, that makes you have to consider the wisdom of doing normal things, like driving your car, like buying milk. It turns you into a reverse of a peeping Tom, staring out the windows at nature arguing with itself: rain going sideways,  palms flapping like flags. It turns the screens into abstract paintings. It pushes at the door. 

Weather sent to remind us that we're not in charge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The most interesting thing about South Florida is its precarious hold on civilization - a constant tug-of-war between the lawn mower and the strangling vine. I love it here in spite of this and because of this. You can never really relax, even though the Department of Tourism calls out for you to come here for that very reason. Stop mowing and edging and chopping and pulling and the jungle jumps in. If you lie still outside for very long my bet would be that something green would come out of the undergrowth and wrap you up like a spider would. Build yourself something and very soon a hurricane will come creeping and wash it all away. (I'm not kidding about that: as I type this, a potential Cat.2 hurricane is tracking our way).

This is a tiny park a few minutes from home. 

It is very small, with a quarter-mile trail that circles it like a cinch belt. It's surrounded by a firehouse, an elementary school, a gated subdivision and a medical complex. But its center is a true jungle, a living reenactment of life here two hundred years ago, or, maybe, two centuries from now. A feverish little suggestion of life without people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Federal Highway

The Dadaists would have loved Route 1. In this part of Florida we call it Federal Highway, which makes it sound starchy and solemn. But it's not. At all. In a way, it's a mess here, all mismatched strip malls and empty lots, broken concrete, abandoned shops, car dealerships, billboards, with confusingly brand-new Italianate town homes sprouting up in between. It makes as much sense as the entire human story, I guess, with different purposes overlapping, banging into each other, crumbling away, scabbing over. Maybe its weirdness is basic: everything is just slightly removed from their original purposes: wicker chairs, cinderblock buildings, giant fish, cement cows, plush giraffes in mardi gras beads, all waiting to be returned to their intended uses. Which means you can make a hundred little collages in your head just by stopping, looking through chain link fences, rolling into empty parking lots, wandering into stores with bland glass windows that warehouse the world's stuff and go on forever.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Just a few minutes outside, with a library book, in shade, on the grass, near pentas, next to a hedge, under sky.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.