Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Honeysuckle Lane

Little Torch is just a couple of miles from my house (30 seconds by Bonneville) and i decided I could combine my after lunch dog walk with a bit of an explore. Cheyenne has been feeling the effects of sleeping in my car each night while I work and she was somewhat reluctant to leave the comfort of her bed but I think it was worth her while.Leeward-South was definitely worth it for me.The street is sort of paved with a hard surface overlaid by a sort of bitumen gravel, as though someone tried to asphalt it years ago and gave it up as a bad job. Usually these streets are mangrove alleys but here I found myself carried along by an incredible scent wafting across the street. It was all honeysuckle blossoms, everywhere, flourishing in the bright December sun.It was quite lovely and totally unexpected.I am not a botanist as I have made clear and I wouldn't trust my own judgment, but these fuzzy balls that smell so fragrant have been pointed out to me as a form of honeysuckle, but I've never seen an entire street lined with them. Cheyenne ignored the honeysuckle as much as she ignored a dead turkey buzzard, though I was quite surprised by her indifference to the deliciously ripe bird. She is a perfect dog.Behind the honeysuckle screen it was mangroves, thatch palms and impenetrable scrub as usual.The street runs straight to the west and opens into a little turn around with magnificent views across the red mangroves to the water. I know it's not the Sierra Nevada or the Mojave Desert but it has an air of solitude and wilderness that never fails to impress me even though the wilderness is frequently interrupted.
The channel was barely visible across the bushes and the sun beat down like an instrument of torture. Actually it was very pleasant yesterday afternoon, low sixties (17C), a light north breeze and crisp clear skies. What a perfect spot.
Perhaps what helped to make it perfect was the fact that the street is empty... ...except for a dog, a few trees and that lovely deep blue sky.
Alas alack there was a sign of human habitation all the same.Isn't it great, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and yet Waste Management will come by and do it's duty for this single solitary home splendidly ensconced on the end of this empty street.Granted it's a dry lot (no canal access) but what a great spot, this is a home where men can be men and beer can be drunk to the accompaniment of loud music and there's no one to complain. That was actually what they were doing under the house as I walked by, doing the beer boats and music thing. "...and she said to me what are you going to do with all these boats? And I said to her I've only got four, and I've had to work hard to get them!" It was like he was answering the question floating right through my brain at that very moment.As I strolled back towards the main road (State Road 4A) I spotted a white PVC pipe snaking off through the mangroves. Ooh I thought to myself, someone's growing dope in the mangroves! One is always ready to imagine the worst. Then I spotted the meter and guessed again. Why they run their official, legal water from here I don't know. We were closing in on the end of our walk when we came across Earl who thought Cheyenne was the bees knees and he sniffed enough to make her rear up and snap at him. I liked Earl, a big thick furred three year old who is owned by a man smart enough to agree that letting him off the leash would probably calm Earl down. Besides Earl had wrecked his extend-a-leash and they had to get resupplied with a fresh one to try to restrain the exuberant Earl for those occasions when he meets dogs less affable than Cheyenne.
We stood around and talked a bit, the usual laments about how the Keys have gone downhill. When I suggested things Up North had gone downhill further and faster he claimed his residence and I claimed mine and we sniffed around each other like two dogs. I first came down in 1981 on a motorcycle (I didn't tell him it was a 200cc Vespa)- so did he, and he had been here first so he could legitimately be the alpha dog. Just like the adorable Earl.
I like the Keys even today, even though they have changed. To live this well, this peacefully, in the 21st century is a privilege we shouldn't take for granted. I don't.