Sunday, February 15, 2009
come to where i'm from
there's water & there's earth here. the elemental laws demand that one settles beneath the other & that the other rises up. w/a simple intervention though, say, something like tides or winds, nothing dominates & everything changes.
from above, the island is just a sliver of shifting sand, basically a sandbar, that has forced its way above the waters of the gulf of mexico, corkscrewing its way along the mainland shoreline, an ephemeral place of astonishing natural beauty & ecologies but always---always & forever---transient, changing daily, even hourly.
that humans choose to build their dreams here is, i suppose, no surprise. we're always drawn to the extinguishing flame. the whole concept of 'barrier island' must appeal to the innate human death instinct. it's a natural buffer zone, nature's reflexive response to impending disaster, erroding demands, & insistent & inevitable change.
why not set up shop here?
santa rosa island is aprox 45miles long & no more than 1/2 mile or so wide at its widest(which are man-made extensions anyway). pensacola beach sits on the western side of the island at 30.51 n & 86.16 w. if you follow out our longitude line east, you travel through africa, the middle east, the indian state of bihar & the lower 1/3 of china(sichuan province being one province). "geologists believe santa rosa island was formed some 4000-5000 years ago by quartzite river sediment coming from the appalachian mountains via the choctahatchee river. that sediment accounts for the white sands of island."
louie davis always called bobo on friday nights. i suppose it was to gossip about county politics, who was doing what to whom. bobo always sat in his lz-boy chair, picking his nose enthusiastically & cackling through out the conversation. these conversations always seemed to be deeply satisfying to bobo, like sex.
after one of them, bobo announced that he & i would be going out to the island the next night for some crabbing w/louie & his family. bobo always included " his family" when he was informing dottie about his plans even tho it was irrelevant. mother wouldn't cross over to the island because of her fear of bridges---there were two bridges that connected the mainland w/p'beach & one of those was 3 miles long. she wasn't going anywhere near that island. bobo knew that.
louie was the head deputy sheriff out on p'beach. at the time, that position wasn't a launching pad into county politics. louie lived out there w/his family, so it was more a matter of convenience than anything else that had him out there. he was tangentially related to the actual sheriff of escambia county, bill davis, so having the job was just one of those plums certain people were handed in county politics, esp since no one else wanted it. louie wasn't viewed as a threat so he was given "siberia" to supervise because he lived there. the north end of the county was where cousin bill's opposition originated.
there would be two things about this sat night on p'beach that would remain w/me: the feeling of a kind of mindless process, a teeming & insistent multitude, driven by random impulse. the second, quite naturally, would be death. but not the cold fact of non-existence. what came out of this sat night crabbing on p'beach was a feeling of dread, the dread that accompanies any encounter w/death, the dread of being snuffed out randomly, right here & right now. that's quite a lesson plan for a night out crabbing, wouldn't you say? i don't think bobo or louie meant for me to get this lesson, at least not then, at the age of 8yo.
end of part1