When I was a kid, I would pick a bagful of tangerines off the neighbor’s tangerine tree (I had permission) and sit on the dock to eat the tangerines and watch the sunset. Or just watch the lake. Sometimes I’d take a book with me.
I discovered that if I stretched out on the dock just right on a windy day, it felt as if I were moving on a raft through the water.
Some evenings Dad would sit on the dock with me. We’d feed the catfish and talk about school or whatever ice carving my dad was planning to do for work.
The dock is remains my favorite place in Florida. At night, a few (very few back then) lights dotted the other side of the lake. The sounds of crickets, frogs, and gators filled the air. I could hear Highway 27 in the distance, water lapping the dock posts, a breeze rustling through the cattails. Sometimes I could see a small dark shadow scampering or darting across the yard–a o’possum or a bobcat.
Now days, of course, there are more lights on the other side of the lake, and I don’t know if bobcats continue to prowl the fields and lakeside. The gators are still there and the snakes.
New frogs have moved in though. They’ve killed the small tree frogs that used to populate the area. Those tree frogs used to fall onto the top of my head when I opened the front door. Sometimes they’d come out of the faucet when I turned on the bath. And if I had had the proverbial dollar for every time I found a dead tree frog in the house (under my bed, on the windowsill, in the kitchen), I could have paid for college without a student loan. But these new frogs are three times the size and the spew out some kind of gunk. They can hurl themselves eight feet. They aren’t kermit green. Sometimes several up them will leap at the back door. If you’e in the Floridaroom, you can hear, thunk, thunk, thunk.
Some idiot introduced them to the ecosystem. People smuggle exotic creatures of one kind or another into Florida, and they eventually set the little blighters free.
I suspect a metaphor for life is in there. But in any event, when I write, this is the place in my thoughts. Alligators swim under the water and the sunset streaks over the waves.
Thanks for reading.
Soon, I’ll post more fiction here.
As always, you can buy the e-version of my first novel here.
And I’m still selling some prints over here.