25 March 2009

Vacation Blues

Whew. Vacation is really great. I love vacation. I haven't quite found the balance though between writing and vacation. I don't consider writing a chore or "work". I truly love it so it's not that I feel that I need to take a vacation from writing. I would really like to learn how to balance the two.

If you read an earlier post of mine, you know that we all headed south to sunny Florida where I grew up to visit my parents. And if you read my past post, Back in the Swamp, you may get a sense of how much I love Florida.

On the way home about an hour into the swamp, we found a classic rock radio station. Classic rock just goes better in Florida maybe because I was a kid running around barefooted and full of imagination when all that classic rock wasn't so classic.

There's something about hearing songs by Grand Funk Railroad, ELO, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Guess Who, Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. that elicits feelings of freedom and wild abandonment in me. At the time these artists were creating some of their best stuff, I was a kid, so I wasn't into drugs. I know now as an adult that drugs were a staple for listening to music like this. Having experimented with drugs mostly in my college years in Florida and listening to classic rock, I know what feelings this music evokes. When I hear this genre of classic rock, I am eleven years old again mixed with those drug induced college years. And it's fucking great. I forget that. I forget how great classic rock music is, how great Florida is and when you mix the two with a margarita and a sunset...you get a Jimmy Buffet song.

It's no wonder that as we exited the swamp and Grand Funk Railroad's, "Closer to My Home" played that tears streaked my face. I felt the magic of my home behind me as we rushed at 75 mph heading north on I75. And Florida is magic for me.

The nature of Florida is so completely lazy with Her transitional forests of oak, pine and palmetto. I love being out on the river swimming in Her clear cold water or watching the manatees. I love paddling out to the brackish marsh to see bald eagles soaring, ospreys suspiciously watching, and great blue herons nesting. Some areas, like the narrow Alligator Alley during low tide when water levels sit lower than the reed covered banks, illicit feelings of vulnerability as I sit in my kayak in nothing but a flimsy swimsuit wondering if a gator will be sunning itself on the bank around the next bend in the river. I feel a rush similar to the anxiety that you feel before cresting the first hill of a roller coaster.

Most of my cell memory, in this lifetime, still holds Florida as home. I lived in Florida longer than I have been gone from Florida. I'll be fifty-four years old before the time is equal for years lived in Florida and years not lived in Florida. By the time I'm fifty-five, maybe the scales will tilt towards Tennessee or where ever I end up, but I doubt it. Until then though, I can fairly continue to call Florida home and cry when I leave Her.


  1. Maybe someday I'll get to see Florida, before it gets paved over. The swamp sounds like a wondrous place. Ever read any Carl Hiaasen? He's a native Floridian who writes some tremendous fiction set in "the swamp" - my favorite character is a one eyed ex-governor who lives in the Glades. Can't remember his name off hand, but he's a great character.

    Glad you had a good vacation and good to know there are others of my generation who haven't forgotten the "Classics" - Crank it up!

  2. I've read just about every Hiaason novel out there. I've become out of touch in the past few years. I've met him twice. I got all jittery probably like most people would if they met some Hollywood star.

    I left Fl because it was getting paved over, but there are some pockets that are still relatively unscathed.

  3. you just wrote your life soundtrack. i think you should burn the lw soundtrack and give it away, along with the smell of mud. maybe smear some on the packaging?

  4. BB...
    What a great idea. That's my childhood soundtrack. I could also do a high school soundtrack and smear it in the scent of clove cigarettes!