Aug 24, 2007

Dead Calm Slack

At 9:30 p.m. I took the Pepper Dog for a walk around the condo complex and found myself in the wayback machine. How long ago was it when I was the arts-and-crafts camp counselor at Ft. Caroline? A night like this, a stillness of mind and heart...

The sounds hit me first, cicadas and crickets in staccatto mating calls; looking for love in all the song places. The summer nights in the bluffs along the St. Johns River settle beside my younger memories-- a faithful hound of the past, and welcome.

The moon was waxing behind a few thunderclouds and decided on indecision, but the stillness was a wool blanket on this August night. The sharp smell of cedar filled the air, being the only sign of the exiting of summer; a harbinger of October already, despite the dogged heat at this late hour.

Here, on the marshes of the Intracoastal, less than a mile from the ocean, you expect a breeze. But you don't know you're expecting one until you don't have one, so reliably does the earth rotate and the Gulf Stream stream and land-sea effects affect. The palm fronds hang lifeless, the strands of moss slide like molasses from the trees, narrowing to the merest hairs of chigger-filled trouble for the unwary passerby.

Dog and I investigate other summer sounds and smells; armadillos, raccoons, possums and a couple of snakes I managed to step on. What are the odds? Damn lazy snakes just don't even care about slithering home. And neighbors don't even sit on the porches or balconies. Televisions don't blare into the street.

Hunker down for The Slack. Plan for Labor Day, but tonight, hunker down.


lizardbrain said...

Ooo! Nice pic.