The Time Of Year When Winter And Spring Come Together In Lloyd

The Time Of Year When Winter And Spring Come Together In Lloyd

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Love Makes A Family. Love Goes On

The high school that both May and Jessie attended in Tallahassee is an alternative school, although publicly funded. It is an amazing place and a place where students who value truly individualized learning and teachers who care find a home. Everyone in the school is called by their first name, from principal to custodian to the security officer to students. Everyone knows everyone. It is a family.
Hell, they even talked me into being the president of the PTSO at one point if you can imagine that. And I loved every minute of it.
SAIL high school. A School For Arts and Innovative Learning.
It's where Jessie learned to play mandolin (the school band is a bluegrass band) and May found a home with peers and teachers when she needed them. It's a school where every student is treated with respect and every student's talents and needs are recognized and honored.
And as you can imagine, the teachers are very, very special.

The SAIL family lost one of its most valued and respected members this morning. His name was Rodd Moorer and he was known always and forever as Brother Rodd.
Here's a picture of him at his retirement celebration last year.

I love that picture. It sums up the energy and just damn love that SAIL represents and of course, Brother Rodd is right in the middle, hand over heart. 

It makes me cry.

Isn't it odd how some people can die and you're sad but you have no real emotional reaction and then someone else can pass over and even if you didn't know them that well, it just jerks your heart right out of your chest and you can't help but cry? 

Brother Rodd's death did that for me. He was just always such a presence with his dreads, his rasta cap, and mostly his beautiful, beautiful smile. He walked with his soul wide open and had no need to keep any of it from his physical bearing. Here's a picture of that smile. The student was wearing his cap. He was generous with his very heart. 

I could write a book about SAIL but the person who needs to write it is a woman named Rosanne Wood who was its first principal and who, with a band of teachers who were as colorful and varied in every way as the student body, made such a difference in so many people's lives. Rosanne is retired now too and every time I see her I tell her to write that book. 

In these days of such confusion and let's face it- failure in our educational systems- SAIL is a model that needs to be studied and emulated. Although- how do you find educators like Rosi and Rodd? 
I don't know. But instead of so much teaching about testing and teaching TO the test, maybe teachers could be nurtured to be more like the teachers of SAIL because in my heart, I think that people go into teaching because they do want to make a difference in students' lives. They DO want to be able to teach with heart and soul. It's certainly not for the money or the ease of the job. 

Here's what Rosanne wrote on Facebook about him today.

Brother Rodd Moorer, beloved SAIL High School teacher, colleague and true friend "transitioned" early this morning after a fierce, but thankfully brief, battle with pancreatic cancer. Rodd was the most transcendent human being I've ever known. He was very clear before he "crossed over" that he would always be part of everything and in each of us, forever. He changed so many lives in his brief 63 years. Everyone who knew him is grateful to have had him on this earth; he will always be our "Brother".

Thank you, Rodd, for making a difference and the earth was better off for having your smiling face, your shining grace upon it.

I didn't really know you that well but I didn't have to. That's the sort of man you were. 
I mourn you but I trust that your spirit is just damn fine. I trust that with every molecule of my soul.

Love...Ms. Moon, Always And Forever, A Member Of Your Family


It was an interesting night. The boys were very good through supper and shower time and story time and then a little Tarzan movie time. Owen wanted me to tell him the Mr. Peep lullaby, as he calls it, and scratch his back and so I did and it was a bit of sweetness. He prompts me as to which animal to talk about and he remembers this story from when he was a very young boy, a baby, really, and I would tell it to him as he fell asleep for his nap.
Owen, once asleep, is asleep.
Gibson, however, is a different matter. I transferred him to his bed beside his brother and he did sleep there for approximately two hours at which time he woke up and cried and said, "I NEED you," in that plaintive voice he uses for just that phrase and so I took him to our bed where he basically slept on me all night long. When a train went by, he would whimper and cling to me and finally, around quarter to five I moved him over a tiny bit and we slept pretty well after that.
Mr. Moon texted me this morning to ask if Gibson had slept all night in his own bed which made me laugh.
I got up at seven and collected the paper and fed the cats and let the chickens out to their coop and poured a cup of coffee and sat down and Gibson...woke up.
"I NEED you," he said again. And onto the hip he went and the morning got started truly.

I woke up Owen a little while later and he was in a great mood until he asked me if I was making pancakes and I told him no, I wasn't, we didn't have time because he had to go to school. The Cheerios I gave him were not a good substitute for pancakes according to him and I am sure he is right but eventually the boys did eat their cereal and drink their juice and I got them dressed and they brushed their teeth and I brushed their hair and packed up their clothes and pillows and stuffed animals and got myself ready to go to the dentist for yet another follow up and we let the chickens into the yard and loaded into the car and drove to town and Owen was checked in to school by nine and he kissed me quite sweetly and told me good-bye and I took Gibson back to his mama and daddy who both have the day off. He settled right into their bed and he, too, kissed me good-bye and hugged me hard.

So it was all pretty perfect and then I went to my dentist and if there is a sweeter, kinder dental office in the world, I can't even imagine it and my jaw is healing perfectly, all is well, and now I'm home, feeling as if I've swum the English channel and taken a shower and prepared dinner for fifty, simply because I did a few basic human tasks.
I plan on doing a few more of those today and I am thinking that a nap may be one of them, not that napping is a task but instead, a basic human joy.

This is life in Lloyd this morning where two boys spent the night with their grandparents and when they were having supper, one of them said, "Do you know what I like most about coming to Mer Mer and Boppy's?" and when we asked what, he said, "Mer Mer and Boppy."

Ah, the boy's a charmer.

He also said, when he walked onto the back porch in the gloaming last night and I was standing right there, "Lord, GOD! You scared me!"

And Maurice just caught another lizard.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spending The Night

The boys are here to spend the night because they've been wanting to for a while now and Boppy's not at the hunting camp or auction and so here they are, making a fire to cook the steaks because steak is something that Owen does say that he will eat along with carrots, celery, and cut up bell peppers which we also have.

They are so beautiful to me. All three of them. The boys have their rituals for overnights and they must be attended to faithfully. Feed the chickens bread, drink chocolate milk, help Boppy with the fire. When Mr. Moon was splitting the wood, I said, "Remember, it's just three little steaks."
"I know what I'm doing," he said.
"Mer! We've been doing this since I was FOUR!" said Owen.

What do I know? Not much.

But that I love them. That I know.
Stale. It's feeling all stale here at blessourhearts. I've covered the same ground over and over and if I want to continue I either need to cover new ground or dig deeper into the ground I cover.

But me? Go further afield? I think we know my boundaries, physically, at least, and they do not extend very far. The chicken house, the garden, the woods and fields for my walk, to town to see my children, go to the store, the library. To Roseland, to Cozumel when I am beyond lucky. I am not apt to suddenly decide to go backpacking and Eurailing in Europe (that train, has left the station, no pun intended) nor am I thinking of taking a trip to Peru or to Greece or to New York City or to Australia to see the Rolling Stones or even, truthfully, into town on a Friday night to go hear a local band.

I become more and more less interested in foraging far from my home for any reason. And that leaves me sad and it leaves me feeling inadequate in every way possible and it makes me feel anxious just to consider such possibilities and it makes me feel stupid and weak and pathetic.

Which leaves emotional boundaries, I suppose. I think that there, too, I have pushed as far as I feel comfortable doing. I have so many stories I could tell but they are not mine to tell, not entirely.  Trust me- when I talk about someone else, unless that person is a celebrity or politician, I either have their permission or protect their anonymity if the subject matter goes deeper than a worm trail on hard ground. Although the very phrase, "Bless our hearts," is a bit on the smirky side, it also confers a bit of compassion, a bit of understanding that we are all in need of heart-blessing, no matter what. The difference between saying, "She's such an asshole," is completely different than saying, "She's such an asshole, bless her heart."
Those last three words convey (to me, at least) a bit of warmth, an acknowledgement of the possibility that we are all assholes at some point or another and there is usually a reason.

When I write here I think of who might read my words. I can't help that. That is who I am. My husband may read what I write, my children, my friends, my brothers. And you, whom I have come to know, some of you at least. I don't want to make people angry or embarrassed or left feeling explosed. I am perhaps too sensitive.
When we were eating lunch at a restaurant in Sebastian the other day, two women came and sat at the table beside us. One of them was a very, very small person. Child-sized. Doll-sized. Yet she was definitely a woman, not a child. And she was wearing extremely chic rich beachy type clothes. A tiny green Polo shirt with bright pink seahorses embroidered on it. A well-fitting expensive-looking skirt. Very nice shoes and a handbag that was well-proportioned for her size and probably cost more than I'll spend on Thanksgiving dinner this year. Plus a car payment. Her hair was perfect and styled in a ladies-who-lunch sort of modified controlled helmet and I wanted desperately to stare at her but of course I did not.
A man joined the two women and I yearned to figure out the relationships. I yearned to learn more. And every time someone in their conversation said the word "little" or "cute" I cringed. Would that hurt the small woman's feelings? It was ridiculous. On my part.

After lunch, in the car, Mr. Moon and I talked about the small woman a bit. "I wonder what it's like to be treated as a child your whole life?" Mr. Moon said.
"If I was small like that, I would probably use either the word cocksucker or motherfucker in every sentence I spoke," I said. To, you know...remind people that I was NOT a child.

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure. Is the little woman a metaphor for me with my little life? Do I feel as if I look like one thing but am entirely another? Do I curse and swear and to make it perfectly clear that I am not "just" a grandmother, a mother, a wife, a woman who really has no life except for this very constrained one?

I do not know.

I also know that waking up in angst and despair is part of who I am and some days, it passes quickly and easily and I accept who I am and how I live and love and some days it settles in and spreads its wings as if to hatch something evil from my heart. Today, for no apparent reason whatsoever, is one of those days.

It will pass. And hopefully, my feelings of despair about my writing and even my life will too.
Even as the rest of the world swirls and whirls around me and Facebook reports that every human on the planet is more open to change and travel and adventure than I am.
Even as I sit here, trying to make myself take a shower and go to town to push my boundaries as far as they ever go, which is not very far at all.

And I wonder when this closing-in happened to me. Has it always been here and it's only been in the last decade that I have so thoroughly quit fighting it, have given in to it?
And then again, sometimes I wonder if this small life is all my heart can hold?

It doesn't really matter, does it? But I am going to try to dig my shovel in a little deeper where the earth may be richer, darker, wetter, denser.

Maybe. We shall see.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pictures. Because

Miss Nicey is the nicest chicken. Owen wanted her to sit on his arm but he wanted a towel to prevent claw and poop damage.

Gibson was taking a nap on the Chinaberry tree. You can tell from his goofy eyes.

My little cubs.

And how they love their Aunt Jessie.

Lloyd Ain't Bad

Home and home and it is beautiful and I took my walk and reveled in the sunlight as it filtered down lace onto the earth under the trees and I am about to hang towels out on the line and get things ready for the boys although they don't need much to be ready. The playset is there for them to climb and swing on, to twist the swings and grow dizzy from the unraveling, the eggs will be there for them to gather and the chickens will take bread from their hands and Mer will be here to do their bidding, to kiss their faces, to hug them whether they want her to or not.

It is good to be home but oh, I how do think of that river, the blue against the green and the leafy bowers of bamboo and palm.
The link to the information to rent the little cabana house in Roseland is here. 
You, too, could go stay in heaven.
I highly recommend it.

I don't know about you but I will be so glad when this election is over. Here in North Florida it is truly getting vile. The ads on TV and the mail I get are simply disgusting. This candidate looks like Nancy Pelosi so you certainly don't want to vote for her. This candidate is the only one who will protect your right to bear arms, so vote for him. This candidate wears a pilot's uniform so vote for him. The Obama Liberal Democrats don't want you to vote so be sure to piss them off and get out and vote for The Fucking Right Wing Conservatives.
Okay, that one I sort of added to.
Hell, the NRA sent a mailing with a picture of Rick Scott that makes him look vaguely human. How the heck did they do that?
Dear god, please let it end.

In other news, I have GOT to get control of my diet again. I have been eating like I expect to be imprisoned on an ice floe and will have to live off my own blubber. I mean, it's been fun but good god. I love how when we start out our trips I begin by eating things like salads with grilled chicken and by the time we end them, I'm eating potato salad with as much mayonnaise as potato salad can be made with and please, yes, more pork.
Pass the blue cheese and hey! Might as well finish up this ice cream! Hand cut potato chips? Oh, yeah, baby.

I wish I could say it's made me feel like shit but I feel fine, to tell you the truth. Still, I should live off of beans and greens for about a month. Maybe a tomato now and then. A slice of pineapple. Etc.

Well, Jessie's coming out this afternoon too. She's bringing Greta which is great because Greta can keep the boys occupied and we can chat, chat, chat. I need to hang those towels and, um, go soak some beans.

Back to real life and I'm not complaining. Well, except for the election ads. Those I will complain about. And with great enthusiasm and vigor.

The rest? Nah. I love beans. And hanging towels out. And my woods where I walk are pretty fine too.

The colors of fall- purple and gold. Royal and sweet and the great oaks rise up to the blue cloudless skies and the nights are cozy cool and the cat slept on me all night and the chickens are out scratching, and politics aside, it is lovely to be alive.

Hope all is well with you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sweetness and Light And Sadness And Joy

It was so hard to leave this morning. So hard.
The owner of the place came over before we left to bring us some banana bread he'd baked from Roseland bananas and Lloyd eggs. And we started talking. I could talk to that man for hours. Days. About Roseland, about that property. About mangos and Surinam cherries and sulphur water and a million other things that we haven't even begun to discuss. I wish he was my brother. I wish he was my next-door neighbor. He used to own a restaurant in Atlanta and he makes marmalade from the Seville oranges he gets from a tree that was on the property when they bought the place. He goes to the Mango Festival in Miami every year.
Are you freaking kidding me?
I love walking around the property with him telling me what he's planted. I notice. I see. I could learn so much from him.

But anyway, dammit, we had to leave. I cried a little as we left. "Good-bye, good-bye," I said, as we took a right off the sandy river road and left that wide, flat current behind me again.

Reading South Moon Under out loud on the way home eased my pain.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings loved that part of Florida as much as anyone on this earth and she was such a fine, fine writer. The lives of her characters are as real to me as the lives of the characters of McMurtry and that's saying a lot. And her description of the scrub, the hammocks, the rivers, the forests, the swamps, the plants, the birds, the water, the sky- her writing is what I would aspire to if I had an ounce of her talent, which I do not. The people she writes about are people she knew and imagined lives for. The way they made their grease and grits. The crops they planted, the game they hunted, the travails they suffered whether of heat or freezing or drought or nor'easters or disease and death are a testament to the human spirit and especially to the pioneers who, with nothing more than the sweat of their brow and a fierce determination, managed to live in the deep wilds of Florida before Deet and air conditioning and malls and Publix and electricity and indoor plumbing and paved roads. Who managed to eke it out, stay alive.
And I knew some of those people, or at least, their descendants.
And I honor them.

So. We made it home. And all of the chickens and the cats are alive. And I've unpacked mostly and have laundry going and have given the talky Maurice several treats and the chickens too and gathered eggs and have my rootlings which were given to me and which I dug from the Roseland jungles in water. I've washed the four plates and eight martini glasses we bought at thrift stores.

It was a beautiful trip and the thing I believe I will remember most is sitting in that beautiful little enclosed jungle courtyard with the bamboo rubbing and swishing and knocking above me, the lizards skittering about with the cry of ospreys as they flew overhead.

I got to see the Sandhill Cranes again this morning. I said goodbye to the staghorn fern, the hibiscus, the palms, the lion pool, the stucco walls of the Goodrich mansion entranceway. I am home. I have water going on the garden. I need to get in there and work if I want greens this winter. The boys, my beautiful boys, are coming tomorrow. My husband will sleep with me tonight in our own bed. I hope Maurice will sleep snuggled up to my hip.

I am thinking of my grandparents who moved to Roseland when Granddaddy retired, not to languish and be lazy in a condo overlooking a canal or the beach, but to start a new life in a jungle, to keep a compost pile and a garden, to battle mosquitoes and, for Granddaddy, at least, to wield a machete, to wear snake boots and a pith helmet, to welcome his daughter and her children when she needed help and to build us a house and to teach me and my brother to fish off a dock with a cane pole, a bobber and a shrimp.

I owe them so much.

James Marshall Alexander and Ruth Alexander.

I went home. I came home.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sometimes You Get What You Need

I've spent so much time on the water in the last few days. We had lunch today at a place over the Indian River and as we waited for our food, I sat and watched the water, taking in the sounds of the waves, the sight of the rippling breast of water. It occurred to me once again that so many of us self-medicate with the water. Why do you think there are so many creative, artistic people who live on the beach? And I'm not calling myself one of those. Just one of the crazies who feel drawn so strongly to the borders between water and land and sky.
And oh, how the wind chimes of the giant bamboo have comforted and enchanted me as it sways in this cooler-weather-coming in wind. It thrashes and dances and clangs and bumps and rubs and talks.

There's a vase I bought on Thursday at the Methodist thrift store for fifty cents. In it are bleeding heart, a piece of snake plant Mr. Moon dug me from the jungle and a few sprigs of bamboo.
Bleeding heart.
That's me.

The man who owns this place along with his husband has done such a beautiful job of planting and maintaining this lush piece of property. There are so many varieties of palms and lilies and hibiscus and I could go on and on. I could talk to him about plants for hours. He has planted all of these magical plants and has nurtured them and the native ones so beautifully and valiantly. And I, being someone who tries to do the same in my own different geographical area but on a much smaller scale, recognize and appreciate this. Every time we come back, I notice new and beautiful plants. I try not to take too much of his time to show them to me. But I love every minute of it when he does.

I'm becoming one of those talky old women. "When I lived here as a child..." Blah, blah, blah.


Anyway. Last sunset over the river from tonight.

More time on the water.
I feel like I grew up on a dock. I wouldn't mind dying on one but hell- how lucky can you be?

I've been in good touch with my brother White these past few days. He is two and a half years younger than I am and he remembers Roseland with as much love and yearning as I do. That, too, has been a sweetness.

The train is coming over the Henry Flager trestle. My granddaddy would have stood on his porch and counted the cars. I feel him here and my granny too. Another beautiful thing.

The best anniversary. Relaxing and re-living and living and sensuousness and bawdiness and gratefulness and wonder and discovery and comfort and laughing and so much love. And watching the herons fly from the river to roost. And the mullet jumping. And laughing so hard I can barely stand it.

And tomorrow we'll drive home to Lloyd and I'll read more of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as we cross this beautiful state where there are still jungles and rivers and crazy people and scrub and pines and stars and the moon and and the oceans which pound the shore and creeks which flow through it, tea-colored and pure and sink holes suck all the way to the depths of the aquifer and cypress trees thousands of years old and I love this place. Disney and Universal and Rick Scott can try to tame and monetize it but they'll never (God, I hope) be able to ruin it entirely.

And I love this man.

And I love this life.

And if my father hadn't been such a damn son-of-a-bitch I wouldn't have ended up here when my mama had to leave him and so...there you go.

Love...Ms. Moon

Roseland, Florida. October 25th, 2014

Anniversary Celebrations

It was such a beautiful day yesterday. After our Sandhill Crane adventure we took a walk around Roseland. I love doing this. Seeing what has changed, what has not. I remember specific trees, if you can believe that. Beloved trees. Houses, of course.
I talked to a man who lives in my granddaddy's old house. He said he'd invite us in but that he had dogs.
Oh well.
They've put up a new sign at the Roseland Community Center.

Learned stuff I didn't know but I do remember a very, very old lady telling us children that her daddy had named Roseland. Aunt Katie. So...a link to history. Aunt Katie had long white hair and she washed it with the rain water that collected in a barrel from the gutter at the back of her house. She used to tell us stories about Indians borrowing their dogs on their way to hunt up the river. They'd stop in their canoes and the settlers were afraid to say no to the Indians. They promised to share the meat with the settlers but when they returned the dogs, they always said they didn't get anything. But they did return the dogs. Aunt Katie told us about panthers peeking in the windows at night.

I grew up in a barely tamed place, y'all. And I realized yesterday that what I always thought of as woods here are really jungle. I grew up in a jungle on a river. How many people can say that?

We went to the Ocean Grill in Vero for our dinner last night. I've been going there since I was a child. It's an amazing place. Right OVER the ocean and the Atlantic was pretty wild last night, it was windy, and we stood outside and watched the breakers coming in and the wind tangled my hair and every one we talked to seemed to be from Connecticut and they have all moved here because it's so beautiful and yet, they don't know a damn thing about it. But they think it's heaven and they're right about that. Until summer and then it feels like hell.

Here's what we looked like. I took that picture of me in the restroom because it's my favorite ladies room in the world and I've talked about it before and it's a long story so I'll skip it now.

After supper we drove back through the jungle with the ocean on one side of us and the river on the other and when we got to Sebastian we decided to stop at Earl's Hideaway, a bar that was here when I was a child and that place was hopping! I can't believe we stopped. It was like old days. A band and people dancing and yet ANOTHER guy from Connecticut who just moved here. And damn if we didn't run into the two women we'd eaten next to the night before at the crab place and they're from Connecticut too!
Fuck! Crazy!

Anyway, here's what it looked like at Earl's.

Outside on a beautiful night. White sand dance floor. The band was okay but not nearly as good as the guy from Connecticut thinks they are. "I've seen Eric Clapton live!" he said. "And this guitar player is better!"
Uh. No. No he wasn't. But he was quite adequate and the vocalist had a fine gritty wailing voice and the bass player was aces. So that was fun.
We didn't get home until midnight. Our actual anniversary.

And look what my husband gave me.

The emerald ring that Lily and I saw while out shopping the other day. I love it. I adore it. Simple, simple, beautiful green like a tiny chip of the water of Cozumel, like the tear of a jade goddess.
It reminds me of some of the recovered treasure they have at the museum in downtown Tallahassee from wrecked Spanish galleons. 
Ah me. 
I am thrilled. My daughters are going to fight over this one when I'm dead but I'm going to enjoy it now.

And this morning we got up early and went to the Methodist thrift store flea market and bought nothing and then we went to breakfast and let me just say this- EVERYONE in this part of Florida is a Yankee. Nothing wrong with that but it's just so true. And mostly old. I mean, I feel relatively young and spry. 

And now we're back in this tiny piece of paradise.

Our real true anniversary and I am so happy to be here. Our last day and I want to cook our dinner tonight myself in this perfect little kitchen overlooking the pool and the river of my childhood which, like my life, continues to flow, this place that fueled my imagination and curiosity and mind when I was a child and always and forever will, these jungles, these waters, these skies. 
And this man to share it with. 

Luckiest woman in the world. That is me.
And I sure do know it. 

I Love Him So

Friday, October 24, 2014

Those Poor People At Disney World

This morning, here in the Magical Kingdom of Roseland, Mr. Moon and I were having our breakfast by the pool

when two Sandhill Cranes flew in.

We went from being worried we'd scare them off to realizing that this lady and her fellow were not afraid of us at all. In fact, they walked up the lawn to say hello.

The male is studying Mr. Moon closely. 

It was so magical. They dined on bits of seeds and bugs from the grass and then I watched the female catch and eat a lizard. But what happened next stole my heart. The male caught a snake and he shook it and pecked it and broke it into pieces with that fierce beak of his and then he gave the female the biggest part of it.
Sandhill Cranes, not unlike chickens, tidbit.

I can not imagine being happier or more enchanted and charmed than I am this very moment. And now I know exactly what it looks like when the breeze ruffles the gray-brown feathers of the Sandhill Crane from a foot away. 
Glorious. Soft. 

This is heaven.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hedonism And Halloween

A perfect beautiful fun day.
Thrift store shopping and memory hopping and napping and sunset.

And then driving up to the restaurant which has the most incredible Halloween decorations. We had a drink there and walked around and took pictures.

I'm not generally into Halloween but this place just does it right. Scary, creepy, irreverent.

And then we went and ate about fifty four pounds of crabs and THEN we went to Walmart and bought ice cream and chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Oh yeah, baby.

We're on vacation.

Love...Ms. Moon


The lions are awake and spitting and the bamboo is making music again and we are up and have had our breakfast which I cooked on the little pink range and now we're going to go down to the thrift store and who knows what all and part of me would be happy as hell to just sit in the shady little courtyard right back of the house and sit and read and dream all day, surrounded by the plants and lizards and listening to the sound of lion spit.

And you know...mess around with the house boy.