Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday bull session

Billy the Kid
via wikipedia
It's a lovely day here on Alligator Creek, breezy and hot, about 90° on the screen porch. I have the fan on. I'm drenched but I don't care. I guess I'm acclimated. Across the street, Sonny Boy is holding forth on his screen porch in that booming, gravely voice of his. I catch snippets.
"You gotta have heart. That's what I put on the internet too. You gotta have heart."

" daughter, her own cousin says, what a beautiful Italian woman."

He's talking to his dad, who occasionally injects a nearly inaudible but definitely gravely grunt or comment of his own. I can't see them. Palm fronds block the view, as does their screen and the perpetual shadow, as their porch faces north. But I can hear bits of what he's saying over the whir of my fan, the wind in the palms, little seaplanes buzzing up and down the coast, cars whooshing on the nearby road that skirts the ICW... bits and pieces....

"I read the whole biography of Billy the Kid the other day... Died on July 14th, 1881. 21 years-old. Blue-eyed. Weighed 120 lbs... The first time he went to jail he escaped... Went to Arizona on a horse, alone.... Went to New York on a horse, alone.... Mexico, on a horse.... alone.... before he was 21.... He was in the desert by himself.... He had to go to to the Indians.

He has (Yes. He said "has") some brains.... Five hundred miles of desert.... You know his mother was an immigrant... Came over on a boat from Ireland... His mother died when he was 15.... 15... so he started runnin around... got in trouble, whatever... his step-father didn't want nothin to do with him so he went out west... He looked at Florida and said "what the hell?"
Later he switched to personal reflections.
Kewpie doll
via wikipedia
"They had a kwepie doll, know what I mean?... I lost everything I had....bowls, furniture, my gun, everything.... Left me in a little bit of shit.... But anyways, I was packing up to leave, the house was full of crabs and fleas. I had no vehicle, no money, my social security check was cut off..."
Then Mom returned from the ravioli run.
"What the hell is this? Who wrecked this chair? What the hell happened here?"
 Sonny Boy,
 "I put tape over it."
 And thus ended the Sunday bull session.


And, besides doing this post and going to the beach for while today, I redesigned my poetry site, annasadhorse, and added a new piece titled Music Theory.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Doing lunch with the big birds

Florida. Gotta love it.

Can I has a take out please?

Well, helloooo there!

Mmmmm, what have we here?

Yes, I can has fried 'tatoes.

Nom nom nom

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Morning quiz

Morning and it's already raining. This could get interesting. The highest elevation in Florida is 345 feet. That's up in the panhandle. Around here it's about an inch. Well, I exaggerate but not by much. We went on a bike ride yesterday. The labyrinth of canals, creeks, ponds and ditches that hem in the human habitat here is full to the brim.

Which brings us to the morning quiz. "Why did the ICW cross the road?"

Ok. Here's question two. Where the hell is Sonny Boy?

I'll answer that one. He's inside watching TV or something.

Question three. So why is his ancient Dad out sweeping up the rain?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Beach walk

photo by asha
Gulf sunset
There's a ray of light when the setting sun hits a certain declination on the horizon. It only lasts a moment. Some say there's a green flash. I've never seen it. But just now, light from the sun setting out over the Gulf suddenly, for a moment, flared orange through the tops of the trees along Alligator Creek casting the world and the screen porch under its spell.

We took the South Venice ferry to Manasota Key this afternoon. It's a short ride across the Intracoastal Waterway but the only direct access to Sunset beach. Otherwise, its a long walk on the shore to get there so it's a pretty quiet spot. The ferry pass comes with the house we're renting. It's a cool little boat. We took it a lot when we were here a couple of summers ago but today was only our second trip this time, even though we've already been here a month. It has been unseasonably rainy, torrential and unpredictable, so we've been driving to other beaches. However, today we thought we could beat the rain. We figured wrong.

photo by asha
Sea turtle nests and blooming century plants

From the ferry landing, a wooden walkway goes through the mangrove and palm forest to the Gulf side of the Key, From there we walked north and were so engrossed looking for shark's teeth (both of us) and heart rocks (me), being amazed at all the sea turtle nests staked and marked by the Turtle Patrol, what storm surges have done to the shore, commenting on birds, admiring the giant pelican drying her wings in the wind in the top of a tree, admiring the jungle of native foliage and trying to not stare at the gay men in teeny thongs who make this otherwise deserted stretch their rendezvous that we failed to notice the giant, black storm clouds gathering behind us. When we did, we were a couple of miles away from the ferry.

We started back and the wind came up, and with it stinging sand, so we bent our heads down and pushed into it, pulling our hats further and then further over our eyes. Next came the rain, in tropical torrents. By the time we got back to Sunset beach it was deserted. We made for the walkway and hurried across the Key back to the ferry landing. No boat, no phone, nowhere to go, so we sat on the walkway in the rain.

This may all sound very bad but actually it wasn't. I went back to the Gulf to see once more the beach shrouded by the squall. For this moment, this storm, there was nothing and no one (well, except me) in the gray and rain marring the solitude. Empty. And baby turtles gestating in their eggs deep within the sand by the sea. The way it always was. The beach and I were wild again. I stood watching sheets of rain whipping westward over the Gulf, blown by offshore winds, then I went back up the stairs and across the Key to the east, to wait with M. Lee for the ferry, which did come back for us after all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Senor Raindrop

Some little fellow whose love song sounds like the drip of crazy giant-size raindrops on an amplified tin can has been wandering around the mangroves singing his heart out tonight. It's kind of sad but fits right into the night chorus of buzzing, trilling and croaking that goes on here at the end of the road.

As usual, I'm sitting on the screen porch in the dark. When I'm home, I practically live out here. I love it. I have my corner, table, chair and laptop. Dd the squirrel sometimes drops by in the afternoon for a visit. The screen's between us, but probably best that way. I hate going indoors. Basically, I only go in to bathe and sleep. Well, I go in for our nightly mango party, my favorite. And we do eat a meal together now and then, that's indoors. Mostly we eat over our keyboards. We're feral.

Earlier in the evening, Senor Raindrop (it's late. whatdayawant?) held his song to a monotonous drip ...drip ...drip tempo but, finally, after about three hours of that, he changed it up. He added a rapid dripdripdripdripdrip followed by a slow ........drip ........drip ........drip ........ followed by silence ........ (I assume he's listening) ........ then he begins again with the original mid-tempo and repeats. He's also moving around a lot and, as the night deepens, getting further and further away. Right now he's quiet. It's a big, lonely world out there.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mango Party!

Alligator Creek in pending rain at sunset

After stocking up on mangoes last Saturday, we had high hopes for the week but things got off to a rough start. Maggots. Our little plan to "follow the mango" sounds great, is great, but like everything else, you can't walk the walk without paying some dues. You want to go to the tree and gather in your own hands it's sweet, ripe fruit? Then you're going to pay some dues.

Mango Party!

Every night we have a mango party here on Alligator Creek. M. Lee halves two mangoes and it's a go. We start by gnawing the pits clean then move on to the custardy goodness of the mango itself. Only last Tuesday, one of the mangoes had a soft spot. Still, being newbies in the world of mangoes, we ignored it until M. Lee noticed that there were little squiggly things in the lovely orange flesh of the half mango cupped in his hands. Maaaaaaaggots! Okay. It was traumatic! Horrifying! Stupefying! Revolting! And for a brief moment, I feared that the dark shadow of trauma would taint my love of mangoes forever but come on! You can't let a few maggots get you down. They're going to win anyway. You know. In the end. It's not the mango's fault. It was a hard moment though. Our faith in Jack wavered, but only briefly. I'm sure he had a maggot or two in a mango now and then by the time he reached his feisty old age. Here's the deal. We've gotten lots of mangoes from the Mango Factory and they are, hands down, the sweetest, tastiest, most delicious mangoes around. So this one was overripe. No big deal. And besides, I wouldn't want a mango that a maggot wouldn't eat. I just want to get to it first.

Nightly no frills mango party

So, as the week rolled on, we got back into the spirit of things, slowly at first but we're back to full steam, though I do look now, something I never did in the past. I'm sure Jack looked too. It comes with the territory.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


"Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river.....
(excerpt from "Tulips" by Sylvia Plath)

This via Buzzfeed via Brain Pickings. Sylvia Plath reading her poem "Tulips".

I did not realize she was also an artist.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Insect conversation

Insect slow call and answer in monotone rhythm across the brackish swamp tonight. It is soothing, this conversation, in spite of the hollow whoosh of traffic. I wish the humans would just sit down and shut up.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

As July deepens

We went to The Mango Factory out on Pine Island again today, Jack's mangoes. When it comes to growing mangoes, Jack made it an art. Back in '64 he planted his seedlings 33 ft. apart so that, full grown, each tree would enjoy full light. Today they're the best on the island. Hell. I'll say it. Best in the world, though we are dedicated to putting that idea to the test. So, with that in mind, we came home with a couple of bags of big, right off the tree, mangoes. Should last the week. Thanks, Jack.

Mango Jack.
What's not to love about this guy?
(picture on the wall at the Mango Factory)

Floridians are funny. Seems a lot of them don't much care for mangoes. Must be those shady backyard homegrowns. Anyway, there was a  good old boy and his wife also at the Mango Factory today. She was walking around the bins, basket on her hip, obviously excited to be at the source while he followed behind, arms folded across his chest, chin tucked down. She'd hold up a mango for his approval and he'd mutter, "I dunno", "You decide", or "I'm not gonna eat 'em". But there was also a fellow there from the Caribbean. He had the Eye. Lucky we got there when we did. Like us, he was stocking up.

Finally a couple of Ibises came by.
They like to graze the grass after a good rain.

As far as life on Alligator Creek is going, DD (Diego's Daughter) the squirrel and I have a nice little thing going but it's very low key. As you may recall, last time we were here, my everyday, all day peanut party turned tragic when the hawk noticed it so this time I'm doing things differently. DD has breakfast, a few peanuts, and that's it until late afternoon. At that point, if I'm on the screen porch, she comes up, looks me in the eye, quietly chitters a bit then goes back down, I follow, put a few peanuts around the Pineapple Palm, refresh the seed for the doves, and that's that. Simple. One other squirrel occasionally drops by which turns immediately into a skirmish but otherwise we have a quiet little scene going. Much as I'd like to be all things to all squirrels, I can't.

Tonight I'm sitting out on the screen porch as usual, the monitor brightness turned to the lowest setting. The frogs are chatting in the dark and the little guy who buzzes like a warehouse buzzer is buzzing back and forth with his friends and Sonny Boy just got back from wherever. He wasn't gone long. He took his mom's car which she didn't seem to be completely down with. He's 51 but you know how niggly parents can be. Usually when he does these little runs it's around midnight, I assume after they go to bed. Also, thunder continues to rumble in the distance and, between flash torrents of rain, guys along the creek are setting off their remaining fireworks. The last ones were directly across from where I'm sitting and just past the mangroves. I'm not wearing my glasses so they were especially sparkly and starry. If that was the last of it, it made for a grande finale. The mangroves are also occasionally back-lit by lightning which is nice and, after a week of really heavy rain, five times the average, Alligator Creek is beginning to smell rather heady, like a swamp.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Road's Eye View

Amid the thunder, rumble, pops, crackles, rips, hisses, thuds, cracks, bangs, shots and blasts exploding all around Alligator Creek tonight for fucking hours now, the cacophony of Fourth of July firework celebrations complete with fragments of a late night drunken domestic argument drifting across the creek, there are creatures in yard, I don't know what ...frogs? ...insects? ...I can't tell, telegraphing each other through the now dark ...extended, one note buzzes and someone, a bird?, adding a tuneless, usually descending one note, whistle. Are they assuring each other that it will be, they will be, okay? I'm here. I'm here. We're okay. I don't know. Reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years ago when M. Lee and I were camping on a swampy beach on Southern Mexico's Pacific Coast.

Road’s Eye View

And her dog replied  
let us begin with death
and the possibility of death
for this is the humid season of atrocity
and wonder and the starting point
is fear and desire
twisted together
inseparable vines
the assailable heart
and the available flesh
lashed to a skeleton raft
survivors from the carbon sea
shipwrecked in a stinking swamp
ten thousand tiny concertinas squeak
in the buzzing, clicking, humming dark

Who are you?
   Here I am. 
Here I am.
   Who are you?
Where are you?
   Here I am.
Here I am.
   Where are you?
   I will feed your daily flesh.
Who are you?
   I cannot sleep.  
Peel back my skin and eat.

Mexico, 2003

I also added this piece to my poetry archive at annasadhorse.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pausing to remember

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka. It's nearly midnight now but still July 3 and therefore the 130th anniversary of his birth. I feel a kinship with him. And the cockroach. So today is also a good time remember my friends Delicata, Nugget and Ha'penny.

Delicata, Ha'penny, Nugget
L. to R.

That is all.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The nothing moments we call our lives

It's been raining for a couple of days now and projections for more run out to the end Weatherunderground's 10 day forecast, well really till the end of summer I suppose. It is the rainy season after all. M. Lee and I got caught in it during a Sunday bike ride, which was fine. It only lasted long enough to get us half soaked so we were dry before we got back to our little cracker shack. Since then the intensity has ramped up. There's a big weather front sitting out over the coast and that's that. Rain. Tropical variety. And since Florida is basically paved over wetlands to begin with, no surprise that the house is standing in water and the creeks and intra-coastal waterways are brimming. Haven't seen any alligators swim by yet but I wouldn't be surprised.

So, of course, as part of my ongoing series of real life videos about nothing, I did a video of Saturday's rain from the screen porch. When we are home, M. Lee prefers to remain inside with the air on but Swami, Minerva and I spend most of our time out on the porch. It's really quite lovely there.