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Windy December Night

2009

Clouds covered December’s full moon early in the evening when the winds picked up.   Writing all day tired me, so I didn’t take the hydrobikes out in the light of the moon.  Instead I walked up the limerock road, which becomes a twisting lighted path in the moonlight, even with a cloud cover.  The dogs and I walk to the boat ramp, step over the heavy metal tube which bars cars, and walk to the bend in the river where the shoals are.

The dogs always wade in, while I stand there waiting for night sounds and sights.  No fish seem to jump this time of year, but you can hear the water rippling there over the rocks not far beneath.  It’s a long, straight shot upriver to the next bend, with swampy woods on both sides.  Even with a heavy cloud cover, keeping us all warm, the full moon brightens the dark river like silver on glass.

Thinking it was earlier, I finally gave up consciousness about 10:30, heading for the screened sleeping porch.  Imagine sleeping on the porch in December.  One doesn’t do it unless we’re having a warm spell usually with a cloudy night.

The intense sunlight reflected from the moon gives almost enough light to read by, but certainly enough light to silhouette the remaining leaves on the maple and oak trees.  They dance in the light wind as I drift off to sleep.  The kitten must be sleeping elsewhere, because she isn’t annoying me sucking on my pajamas and purring like a little motor.

My sleep is deep, dark, and delightful until that squirrel starts making the same incessant rasping sound.  The moon hasn’t set by then, and that gray light, constant on the night of the full moon, allows me to see that little demon of the trees screeching.  At what, I wonder?  Over and over s/he makes the same two toned screech.

I can’t fall back asleep, so I lie there disturbed by the story I’m writing, aware again of the truth about me it tells.  I want to get it out of me, out of my mind, put it on paper, into a notebook and close that book.  But this night, it haunts me.

Between thinking those nasty self-incriminating thoughts, I’m singing over and over, “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” from “The Sound of Music.”  Over and over that silly song makes me think of myself as “how do make her stay and listen to all you say, you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”

Meanwhile, I hear the wind picking up.  Tiny tips of trees close to the house scrape the metal roof, like fingernails on a chalk board.  Occasionally an acorn makes a dull thump. Waves of wind wander over my exposed face, all the rest of my body covered, bringing a smile. Like the caress of a gentle hand, you feel the presence of that magical phantom: the wind.

The kitten hears me stir, finds me, and begins her motorized serenade.  She’s learning, and I’m teaching her that I’m not her mama and I don’t like to be sucked.  Soon she curls up along my side, that complete miniaturization of a cat.

Hours of lying awake dreaming of some task I absolutely cannot accomplish, causing me anxiety I cannot control, make it difficult to open my eyes at the usual time, but I do.  Through just a crack in my eyelids, I see the red, red sun rising beyond the trees surrounding the house…spreading fresh red blood along the horizon at 6:30 AM, the first light beyond silver moonlight.  I want to sit up and watch the entire drama of another day beginning, but I’m too tired.  Two red, red cardinals sit silently still in the trees; I see them.

The next time I crack my eyelids, the light is golden.  What an array of color this dull December morning.  Finally, like a white spotlight, the sun actually creeps over the horizon, the white star anticlimactic after the warm-up show.

It’s only the sound of their flapping wings as they take off from the highest tree branches that alert me that the Vultures are here.  They sit in silent vigil seeking some fallen creature to devour.  When one rises, all flock follows, with a whoooosh of each gigantic wing.  From the pillow, I see them soar silently heavenward.

Now I get up and feel and see the wind blowing gently, but bringing a sure change in the weather.  I waste no time dripping the coffee, stripping from pjs to pulling on bathing suit, as this will be the last time for a morning dip for awhile. 

With coffee and dogs, I prance to the silver river.  Draining the cup, placing it on the sitting rocks beside the stream, I undrape my heavy terrycloth robe.  Quickly, I walk upstream and walk into the constantly 70 degree water.

Wow.  What more could one ask than to begin the day baptized in Ichetucknee water? I float down with the current, rubbing my face dipped in the river water. 

The vultures have landed on the gray moss-draped cypress limbs, silently sitting separately like black knobs on limbs, a true Poe setting for a windy gray December day.

The sky is darkening, the wind picking up, as I trot back to the house along my solitary road, alone in my winter paradise.

I hear a soft mew and that taunting Wren rasp.  Looking to the balcony, six scarlet Cardinals dispersed in the maple tree glare silently at the kitten, who seems to say, “What did I do?” while the Wren chastises her for simply being a cat.

So begins another day.

 

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