It takes me a while to realize I am still wearing my computer glasses. I had no idea the prescription would work for driving. It is a misty-gray, north Florida morning, anything but gloomy, full of mystery, and 100% humidity.
I want to drive to the sea and so I do.
Soon, my window wiper blade on the passenger side flaps like a shoelace. On such a drippy morning, it will be a while before the sun burns through. The blade has to be replaced at some point but maybe the shoelace will last until the sun shines?
The blade costs almost as much as a full tank of gas. Replacement means zeroing out my car maintenance category in my budget but I have enough gas until the end of the month so mentally, I shift the cost of the blade into another category. By the time the blade is replaced, the mist lifts.
I snack on Gala apple slices and sip a robust, black tea as NPR tells me the news, too much news for a day still so young. Soon, I tune it out for the road through rural, north Florida, dotted with mobile home groups of six, seven or sometimes more.
My favorite is Buddyville, nestled among the pines and oaks, where mildew has its way. Confederate memorabilia sags and pales as the sign of Buddyville grows greener every year.
But there are mansions, too, or what seem so in contrast, at least those with white columns. Here, the pine is chosen for its aesthetic usefulness, same for the oak, with a preference for symmetry. No sign of mildew.
The only town I pass through is Woodville, with its 100% employee owned grocery store, perhaps the heart of this woodland community where lives of those who live in mansions and mobile homes intersect. Perhaps, but a heart with jagged edges.
I immerse myself in this trip to St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge, not wanting to miss a moment in reminiscence of times past. No expectations. I am here for the symphony of sea wind and salt air.
All that is broken in me, all that will never heal hears nothing else. My walker rolls over broken shells, chunks of limestone, and maneuvers the unevenness of the path.
Movements within the symphony of the sea.
The Lighthouse Levee Trail is gray, brown, or burnt yellow– colors of the day, bursts of an open heart, softened by time and tide.
When the path turns from sand-dirt to green-grass brown, the St. Marks River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, today at low tide. A Great Egret fishes as a brown pelican watches, keeping its distance.
I realize I have walked .8 mile or will have upon my return. It was three years ago, almost to the day, since I watched a river empty into the sea. Whether I am here ever or never again, I now know the secret of rivers.
It is in the trail of my three-wheeled walker, its middle wheel turning both left and right, a triangle in sync, no matter limestone, shell, or sand, always a way to the sea.