That's what we call seafood here in North Florida.
Yeah, I know.
We drove through the piney woods down to Spring Creek where they've been catching and cooking seafood just like that for at least thirty-five years. Probably more. Same family. Catch it, cook it. Serve it.
Such a massive meal that all I ate was the mullet. The rest is in the refrigerator and we'll eat that tonight. The shrimp, the oysters, the crab cake, the baked potato. So okay, maybe I ate my hushpuppies. Mr. Moon didn't finish his dinner either so there's plenty for another feast tonight.
Here's how long it takes to drive from Spring Creek to Lloyd: One listening to High Hopes, Bruce Springsteen's newest album.
Here's how long it takes to drive from Publix to Lloyd: One listening to Cream's Sunshine of Your Love and one listening to Joan Baez singing I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.
Maybe that's how I should be measuring time, or, alternately, in coffee cups, as recommended by T.S. Eliot.
We saw so many deer last night as we drove home. They were standing on the side of the road under the moonlight, their eyes shining green. We didn't hit a one. Thank god. Bruce sang us home, his thick, lush voice calling out and the deer escorted us.
Florida. It is a place I love so much and yet, it never ceases to amaze and sadden me at the same time. If you could see the brightness this morning- the flowers I talk about so much (too much), the birds (same), the bright blue sky. If you could taste mullet so fresh that it was probably swimming the morning you ate it, so white and pure, tasting of both Gulf and river. If you could see that house we looked at yesterday, built entirely of pine boards never touched by paint except for one room, a true Florida Cracker home. If you could sleep in the room I sleep, built way over a hundred years ago and still so accommodating to our needs here in the 21st century, so peaceful that when Gibson wakes up from his nap on my bed he merely sits up and smiles.
And yet- if you're a white man in Florida, you can still murder a young black man and practically or truly get away with it. It's a state where money talks and the environment suffers and where we expect our politicians to be crooks and we have, at this moment, a governor who should probably be in jail for Medicare fraud but instead, is living high on the hog in the Governor's mansion, making decisions that affect every one of us, our air, our water, our ability to get health care.
It's a conundrum, this state. It is as full of glory and mystery and black rivers and blue and green waters eyebrowed by sand as white and sugared as can be found any place on earth. It was inhabited so many thousands of years ago that we don't even know and you can bet those people ate fine fresh mullet and oysters, shrimp and venison. We find their spear points, their fish hooks, their pottery, their footsteps. We have the richest and the poorest. We have Miami Beach mansions which are more like palaces than houses and we have falling-in-shacks and rusted out trailers where the less fortunate live out their lives, baking in summer's heat and freezing in winter's cold.
We have countless tiny white wooden churches, storefront churches, churches in modular metal buildings, we have Scientology's Super Power building. Whateverthefuck that is.
We have excellent seafood. And back roads to carry you to the places where you can eat it, miles of blacktop where you might go for two cups of coffee or five or six songs before you see another car. We have red dirt, black dirt, we have palm trees, cactus, some of the oldest trees living on the earth, giant Cypress that have stood sentinel on the banks of rivers since the ancients canoed down them. We have caves and we have the bones of the mastodons, the saber tooth tiger, the giant armadillos who used to roam, big as Volkswagens.
We have crime and very often we do not have justice. We have the death penalty and the law doesn't seem to mind using it.
Well. Good morning. It's Sunday. My god it is beautiful. The boys are coming out today. Mr. Moon is thinking about taking them fishing in some pond or creek. Maybe. He's working on their play set which stands under the shade of quite-possibly six-or-seven hundred year old oak trees.
Here's what Owen looked like last night with his new cat, Parker.
I am feeling mighty all right. Still some trippy but I slept good last night and made biscuits and grits and eggs this morning. The food of my people, or at least my adopted people. I wonder how many biscuits have been baked and eaten in this house. I wonder how many chickens have laid how many eggs in this yard. I wonder how many children have played in the woods around this house. How many trains have passed by, shaking the windows in their frames. I wonder how many babies have been born in this house, how many people have danced here, died here.
I will never know. I live in a land of mysteries, a house of mysteries and some day I will be a part of that mystery. I live in a state of corruption and greed. I live in a state of wonder and grace.
Happy Sunday, y'all.