Well, here I am now. Now… What does that even mean? Isn’t the ‘now’ implied in the “here I am?” Anyway, it’s my first night after leaving Jacksonville. I’m lying in my tent with a swollen bladder but too lazy to get up and do something about it. But I don’t want to write about the current moment, or even this day, just yet. I want to reflect back on the evening before I left. What little there is to reflect on at least.
I was hanging about Lemongrass, visiting with friends/co-workers. I was in a somewhat melancholy mood, rather ambivalent about leaving, and frustrated by the lack of space (or plethora of gear) which was making packing difficult. Then Daniel enters like a firecracker (like pretty much always) chattering about my bike (one could actually see the exclamation marks lingering in the air as they punctuated the ends of each of his statements ) and how good it looks, very excited apparently about my trip which, as I stated, I was not so excited about.
Normally I find this behavior, shall I say, overwhelming. This evening, however, I enjoyed the show. Perhaps I even needed it, because to be sure it had a rather tonic, salutary effect on me. Revitalized me a bit, as a vitamin does. Interesting, the similarities in those words; vita is Latin for ‘life.’ At any rate, I’m grateful for it. He even asked if he could ride to D.C. with me, to which I of course answered with a “Yes, I’d like to leave around 9:30.” This was apparently far earlier than he had expected, if I am to judge by his response, and so I cycled alone to D.C., which was fine aside from its “hellishness.” The hellishness mainly being the wind, and some the cold. Otherwise it would have been pleasant. It was, however, and maybe more importantly, freeing.
NOW, here I am lying in my tent, fifty some miles west of Jacksonville, looking at the weather forecast. Thunderstorms the next three days. Perfect. The question of course is what to do about that. Options are slim of course: ride through it and get soaked, or ride to Lake City and get a motel. Of course if the rain doesn’t come allllll day I can ride in spurts and take shelter. I have a peculiar love for the very-most-average (or even slightly-below-average), run-of-the-mill motel though….
Well, one thing I can at the very least be happy about is being in The South again. The Live oaks! The Spanish moss! The palms! And every other unidentifiable bit of vegetation! Coming from Maryland, these plant species appear to me as some of the most majestic and wondrous on the planet. The Live oaks with their enormous crowns, limbs stretched out wide so that you wonder how it is that the trees stay in one piece and don’t just split down the center, and the Spanish moss draped over its branches like the shawl of a queen. All of this down here in the warm cool of the winter while up north all is dead-looking, cadaverous, grey, taupe, brown, earth, dry, mere sticks poking out in all directions. Yes, winter in The South, this far south, is a glory to be sure.