Spring came overnight again. I don't know why it always surprises me, it happens every year, and every year I come outside, see all the blooms, and have to say, "wow! Spring came overnight", which is about as dorky and cliched as "hot enough for ya", but I have to say it nonetheless.
I had most of today off, so I wandered back up to Georgia. Have I mentioned I love Georgia? Georgia... georgia's on my mind... Whole trees have burst into color, randomly sandwiched into the always-green swamps and forests.
Have I mentioned I love swamps? They're so beautiful and unexpected. You'll be going along, the same forest on either side of you for an hour, and suddenly you realize that it's still the same forest, but there's no ground, only water. Suddenly the trees are more dramatic, the mood spookier, even though nothing else has changed.
I keep trying to get the perfect picture, the one that I can *see* perfectly. There are enough trees that you get the impression of a forest, but they far enough apart that the light can reach down and glitter on the water, so you get a shimmering sea interrupted by tree trunks and gator noses. I've probably seen this shot before, and I know I've seen it out of the corner of my eye as I hurtle past, but I've never been able to catch it. Yet.
I found the rest of the tree spirits on St. Simon's Island (though they led me on a merry chase), and saw a gravesite and memorial to a hobo, Campbell Johnston, who fell off the train in Woodbine, Georgia, right near the river. At the river there was one car parked, an old man reading his newspaper at 8 AM on a Saturday.
What is the secret of old men and water? At my beach, there are always one or two, just sitting in their parked cars, reading the papers, and they always outstay me. Are they all over the country, anywhere there's a large enough body of water, and I just never noticed them before? It's kind of fun, in a strange way; I sit in my car and knit and listen to the ocean and they sit in their cars and read and listen to the ocean, all without a word to each other, even if our windows are open and we are 3 feet apart. It's a comfortable silence, somehow.
And now, because I feel like it, and you can't stop me, more song lyrics.
"Out on Main Street
Getting to know the concrete
Looking for a purpose
From a neon sign.
I would meet you anywhere
Western sun meets the air,
We'll hit the road,
Never looking behind."
Son Volt, or close to, anyway; I'm going from memory this time.
"Switchin' it over to AM, searching for a truer sound,
Can't recall the call letters, steel guitar and settle down.
Finding an all night station somewhere in Louisiana
Sounds like 1963 but for now it sounds like heaven.
May the wind take your troubles away
May the wind take your troubles away
Both feet on the floor, two hand on the wheel, may the wind take your troubles away."
I could go on forever, there are so many songs about driving, and about 90% of them are damn good. And then there's Aqua, kings and queens of lyricism:
"Baby I'm leaving you forever,
Took the car and the cat and dog.
Took the boots and the rhinestone hat,
All that's left is this note you've got,
Awww... you suck!"
Hee hee. Almost as good as Shaggy "step in my Caravan of love, drinking cocoa from the same old mug, eating cookies from the chinese grub, making love-a on my persian rug". Only he can make all those rhyme.
Enough, enough. No more rambling. I found out something that surprised me the other day. The enmity between North and South really never ended. I know, I know, every southern author alive makes use of that fact, refers to Yankees derisively, and plays up the good ole south, but I always thought that was literary license based on a shred of truth. Or if it was true, it was all one sided, with the folks that whistle Dixie blindly prejudiced against those nice northerners.
Well. Let me tell you, it's there, and it goes both ways. Being a westerner, I am (happily) out of the equation, and both sides take me into their confidences. One woman from a New England town, hearing I was from San Francisco, asked me how I found the people here in Florida. Weren't they just completely lacking refinement, and didn't I miss a city with culture? I was a bit shocked, and told her I found people much the same.
Meanwhile, a born and bred southerner let me in on the secret of South Florida. It's been overrun by those northerners, which is why the cities are dirty, there's more crime, and people are just downright rude. She hates to drive there, because the drivers have "northern manners".
Okay guys, here's a secret. Thanks to the same TV that I bemoaned in my last entry, standards of living all over the country are becoming streamlined and differences are replaced with Friends-ian sameness. While I find this boring, it does mean that neither side in this silly debate has a leg to stand on! So just fall over, folks, the debate should be dead. I have no idea how it totters on.
Maybe it's due to a phenomenon I noticed even in San Francisco, that of the lost tourist. Invariably the tourist areas in big cities are literally next door to the slums. So you step out of your hotel, go one block in the wrong direction, and you're in the Tenderloin. Southern tourists to the north must get lost, get honked at, and see the worst bits. Northerners heading down south turn the wrong direction, miss the historic museums, and see the shacks falling into the swamp.
Actually, I always thought the lost tourist phenomenon was damn funny in SF. I used to wonder if a few people went home from their vacations with crack pipes instead of mini-Coit towers. It's an influx of tourism dollars to the people that really need it in the city.