Friday, February 25, 2011

A Grumpy Little Hamaca Park

I am not a fan of Hallmark Holidays, those moments of bliss manufactured by advertisers and merchants that are deployed during the calendar year to convince us to waste time and money on sentiments that corporations should have no access to. It was just after Valentine's Day, a holiday guaranteed to make me grumpy as prostituting the historic Bishop of Terni (my home town ) in the name of selling flowers and chocolates is a corporate invasion of privacy bound to piss off a sensitive soul like me such that I took my dappled dog Cheyenne hunting the smells lurking in the bushes at Little Hamaca City Park.She prowled the trail, nose down, darting back and forth and paying absolutely no attention to me. At times she was barely visible in the undergrowth.These are the walks that I rate a success. The ones when she stands staring at me are the boring ones and then I feel guilty. Little Hamaca is the cluster of woods between the airport and the Riviera Canal in that part of the city of key West known as New Town. It is a hammock of trees and bushes growing on a chunk of raised ground that isn't ever supposed to flood. It has a rather poor reputation as a hang out for drunks and bums and shy men seeking the solace of the love that dare not speak it's name, mostly I'm told men who pretend to be straight and are thus unable to come out in the numerous and entirely acceptable gay locations around town. In my not terribly frequent forays into Little Hamaca I have never been accosted or molested but I seem to have a facility for blithely ignoring that which freaks out other, more sensitive people. You have been warned.Evidence of drinking was everywhere and it's not like there aren't plenty of trash cans in the park.
It was a lovely scenic sunny day with a light fresh winter breeze continuing to make the outdoors perfect. As we were next door to the airport there were planes in the sky.The plane was towing a message. You know what they say about marriage, in Italy where I grew up: a year of flames, a year of embers and thirty years of ashes. Don't do it Lori! Cheyenne and I are like an old married couple when we go strolling along together. She started to break out onto Airport Boulevard separating herself from me...I watched the sky a bit more, waiting for Lori to float her reply: "Bugger off!" but perhaps she, like me, had no idea who had paid for the banner...Anyone who comes to Key West Diary looking for cloying sentiment and valentine platitudes is in the wrong place. Where was I? Oh yes, beautiful skies...
It was just a glorious afternoon with not an icicle or snow shower in sight.
Down in the shrubbery the colors were magnificent also.
Cheyenne and I were scampering along and enjoying ourselves as only we know how. You'd think the bushes would be packed with people scampering their dogs, but not a bit of it. I expect they were all standing around in the dog park avoiding making eye contact.
I also found one solitary boot complete with a sock inside.I have no idea what happened to the other one. Perhaps this one got left behind when they dragged the body away. Idle speculation is all I can offer so now we should consider instead the natural beauty of prickly pears, nature's equivalent to conchscooter, prickly on the outside and ... something else on the inside one hopes...I have spent far too much time being nice to strangers lately. I think it's time to revert to form and contemplate the wonders of nature without human backup, much as Saint Francis of Assisi did in his hermitage near my former home in Umbria.
Except he didn't have a fat happy Labrador to console him, as the breed was only recognized in England in 1820. They arrived as boat dogs on vessels from Canada, Newfoundland actually before it was part of the Dominion and the English thought they were splendid. Which they are.
All this and a cheerful wife at home ready to make up for the lack of human company encountered in the bushes at Little Hamaca. Which was probably just as well if they do indeed have acts of gross indecency on their minds.I did meet some people on my way out on Government Road.
I didn't speak with them but my gesture of goodwill was not to run them over as I swept by. Valentino, Bishop of Terni (Interamna as it was known to the Romans of the day) would have been proud.