Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Soul Heal

I used to experience a pretty significant soul ache in Florida. So much concrete, so much heat, so much city, so much damp, so much missing. I hated walking out into that wall of heat to hop in my car and drive to a carefully landscaped business district, where the grassy patches and crepe myrtle trees did little to mask the fact that my work bordered the interstate and was situated across from a hospital with a helipad. The air traffic was abundant in Jacksonville, since it's still a 2 Naval Base town, and the car traffic was obscene. The only birds we heard were the feral ducks and geese, it seemed, and the trees didn't change color until January.

I'd try to eat lunch outdoors, to get away from the sterility and fluorescent lighting of the office environment, but it wasn't nearly enough. Nature in a city is a forced entity. I might feel differently about someplace like Central Park, because they've managed to keep it so vast, but your average city, even with a great park system like Jacksonville's, can't hide the fact that it's still an attempt at nature plunked down in the middle of an otherwise concrete jungle.

The heat was ever-present. It wrapped itself around you in the mornings on your way to work, clung to your back as you walked into the office, and wrapped itself back around you again on the drive home. With my short commute, I was practically home by the time the car AC was getting the job done. It slowed you down and induced fatigue. The trees were too far apart to provide adequate shade. In deep summer, it actually made my skin sting, and it's a wonder my McAss didn't get melanoma from living there.


Les has commented more than once now, how he's glad we moved here in the wintertime when everything was so dormant, because it makes us fully appreciate how lush everything is now. It's so overgrown right now, that traffic is delayed on my main road these days because contractors are clear-cutting along the sides of the road to keep the blind spots under control. Looks ugly at first when they're doing it, but I see it's quite necessary, because the level of growth threatens to overrun the sides of the roads. They also repaved the winter damage and added aggregate to the shoulders, which I'll be grateful for when I'm hiking.

My gods, the growth! So very much green!

I hopped out midday today to hit the grocery store, and it barely felt 75F out there. I caught myself thinking "whatthefuck, this is JUNE?!?!" as I walked to my car and rolled down the windows for my drive into town. Driving with the windows down in Florida was a luxury reserved for a small window in the winter months. Here, it's a necessity almost, so you can breathe in and taste the different flavors in the air. Honeysuckle and elderberry, wild strawberry and pine, it's a deciduous and coniferous explosion of the senses out there these days. I catch myself forgetting to exhale.

The soul ache I used to experience is healing. We're barely scraping by financially, and we haven't made friends here yet, but every day, I step outside my front door and am grateful for how different it is here, how beautiful and alive. The brook rushes past just below our front door, the plants are getting leggy, and the trees provide wonderful shade. When I can tear myself away from Castle (my current TV obsession), I'm going to be spending my evenings out front, knitting, reading, until the bugs drive me in. I'll be the one with the yarn in her lap and the big goofy smile on her face.

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