Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Frances Rambling

This is the time of year when people Up North start thinking fondly of the next season they are to enjoy. Newspaper cartoonists draw pictures of children boarding school buses for the new school year, and trees shed leaves and cartoon neighbors leave their homes bent against autumnal winds with scarves flapping strongly behind them.In Key West September is the heated month of the year, the time when the Earth gives back all the accumulated warmth of summer sun buried in the ground. Winds at these latitudes die down and the ocean waters go flat. Because we are temperate creatures we too start to think, to hope, that soon we may get relief and a cooling breeze. Intellectually we know that the first cold front that presages winter is weeks away, in mid October if we are lucky. Good manners and patience will get us through the slowest and hottest month of the year. Would that everyone made and used a sign as polite and pretty as this:Meteorologists will tell you that August is statistically the hottest month of the year, longer days produce more sunshine and the rebounding heat of May, June and July produces higher temperatures. However I am here to say that September always seems warmer because one is more inclined to hope that the heat will end soon. Sometimes we think the world has reversed itself; we all know that Angela Street alongside the cemetery is one way outbound toward Frances. Not any more, nowadays the one way street is inbound toward Margaret. It's all signposted but I find the situation confusing because I am a creature of habit.I need to make it clear that I don't much mind the heat of summer, a high of 95 degrees and high humidity is relatively comfortable for me, especially considering I work in air conditioning and my home is comfortably air conditioned. Lacking the a/c I wouldn't like it as much I'm sure. Cheyenne is a smart dog- she hunts shade this time of year.
September is also the time of year when parking is available, much of it in this picture is residential, that is to say parking that requires a Florida tag marked "Monroe" indicating a Monroe County resident, or a sticker from city hall authorizing residential parking. However it is an indicator that residents aren't clogging parking spots as they will in a few months when winter starts to bite Up North. A shady street is a good place for a walk.
This is a time of year when there aren't too many people around on the sidewalks, when vehicles come and go from time to time, when,as they say you could fire a cannon down Frances Street and not hit anyone. Cheyenne's pace is slow, for her her a trip to town is a chance to sniff new smells and check out the urban fascination of a somnolent town. For me it's a chance to fiddle with my camera and play with the exposures of the digital settings.Or perhaps a chance to look up in the sky and see I don't know exactly what.
Banana trees are producing fruit, not yet ripe, but I have high hopes as a friend who has a tree can be persuaded this time of year to bring a few home grown bananas round.
I caught this Buddha contemplating an ash try turned upside down. I wondered if perhaps it was the statuette who was responsible for the cessation of the habit...
The disadvantage as I have frequently pointed out, of life in the city at the end of the road, is the lack of space available to residents around more modest dwellings. Be that as it may, creative spaces also abound. One of the pleasures of sub tropical living is the ability to enjoy the outdoors as an extension of the indoors year round.
Everywhere one turns in Key West people are doing clever things with the space and the stuff of daily living that falls to hand.
Mellow fruitfulness is the autumnal season I alluded to earlier, and even though it's not exactly mellow yet, the doves were fighting over berries on this bush.By the time we reached Southard Street I felt that perhaps my dog had sufficient energy to walk back to the car and the cemetery without expiring. We stood under the awning of the old Haitian Art Gallery, now looking rather spiffy as some new gallery, and as we stood I looked across at Cafe Sole. I find it encouraging to see people pedalling in the heat. Perhaps they have no choice as about one third of the city's 23,000 residents have no cars, These bicycles appeared to be the same models equipped the same way and likely for the use of the guests at the nearby Bottle Inn.It looks just as one would imagine a guest house in Key West should look. There are so many of them, and I stay in none of them so I guess it's not surprising I had not previously noticed it, tucked away under it's canopy of leaves.Cheyenne had other things on her mind. Sometimes my dog thinks too much. When she senses a walk is coming to an end she seems to sniff harder and further as though to take advantage of every last moment. She sometimes seems to forget her life has changed and walks are now a twice daily occurrence.