Fog clings thick to the pasture and silhouettes of scraggly oaks float in the distance, their branches left ragged from Hurricane Charley. Crimson hues feather the top of the tree line and the mosquitoes swarm thick around my exposed skin. I would say the scene was timeless, a slice of the real Florida that could be a century old, if it weren’t for the almost deafening sound of tractor trailers banging over the railroad tracks in limestone, and then grinding through their gears as they hum to speed down Murphy Road. The noises start south and wrap around the corner to the east, making me feel squeezed by burgeoning humanity, even here. It makes me wonder how long this land and the way of life it breeds can hold on. I wonder if the animals hear the noise coming too.
Last night I was signing books at the Clearwater Library’s Evening with the Authors. To be hunting this morning seems a world away. Next time I attend such an event, I want to be sharing this world with them. In five days I’ll be in Gabon on my next assignment, and then I must return to begin work here at home. Now I need both hands to shed mosquitoes. The sun’s almost rising.
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