Thursday, December 12, 2013

Clouds Over, Sewers Under, Cudjoe Key

It is no easy thing to determine what the weather is really like in the Keys when looking from afar. Temperatures vary wildly in how warm or cool the air actually is, despite what the numbers say...humidity changes markedly how hot it feels, and the breeze plays its part.

All of which is to say I never quite know how energetic my dog might be when we head out for a walk. When she feels cool she gets more energetic, finds more things to smell and suddenly I have a puppy leading me in the dance.

It's been a while since princess agreed to check out the back country of Cudjoe Key and I was delighted to make the acquaintance once again of the strange parking lot alongside the trail. This used to be a car from the 60s maybe. In half a century it has been reduced to a pile of rust. I am durprised we are still told that an abandoned soda can will blight the landscape for 500 years. Cheyenne seems likely yo blight the landscape for a year or two more:

It is very difficult to get away entirely from the sounds of traffic rushing on the Overseas Highway, especially if the wind is blowing towards you from the traffic.

But inside your mind, in these spaces you can find quietude, and as Cheyenne rooted around smelling stuff I listened to the wind rustle my ears and watched the clouds scudding overhead.

The ground is close to the tideline and salt water. In fifty years they tell us this will revert to the sea, but for now it is here, modest and scrubby lacking the majesty of mountains and the true void of the desert. But it is deserted as the tens of thousands who live nearby, or winter nearby, rarely penetrate these quiet places.

In winter I come across joggers sometimes busy improving themselves, but if I try to penetrate these scrubby woods in summer my only companions are mosquitoes.

It took us thirty short minutes to walk out and back, Cheyenne chose, at the fork in the trail to turn back and head toward civilization.

It is little wonder the trees are so small in the salt air, for there is no dirt.

People warn me with dire concern that rattlesnakes will be the death of me. None seen so far these past four years with Cheyenne. And it's hardly surprising as this land tends to flood in summer making it an unpleasant place for a snake that likes to live in dry sandy uplands.

There are alligators and crocodiles and poisonous snakes abundant in Florida. The Keys seem to me to be the least threatening environment, human or natural, you could take a walk in. The human predators, pathetic things, seek to bum a free drink or to sell you cocaine around Duval Street. Out here you are free of the constraints of fear and internalized oppression if you so choose.

And you can stand like an idiot and watch an aircraft carrier float silently overhead into the rising sun.

Back among the homes nearby the toil and trouble of centralized sewer installation is ongoing. Soon the street will be covered in dust and gravel and the air filled with noise and more dust. This work should have been fond twenty years ago when the Feds threw money at public works projects. Now it will be paid for in bonds and property taxes. And the reef has been literally eating shit for unnecessary decades.

Walt across the highway has won a victory in his quixotic drive to minimize technically unsound grinder pumps planned for installation across many streets. He fired up a lawsuit based on his own extensive engineering knowledge and forced scrutiny if the bidding process for the thousands of individual grinder pumps. Gravity fed vacuum sewers are getting a fresh look thanks to Walt and corruption noises swirl around now that the stupidity of burying pumps everywhere in wet mud has been exposed.

Cheyenne bore the mark of her wilderness walk through the suburbs.

Imagine the work of severing, every street, every home connected by pipes buried in rock.

Just thinking about it tires a girl out.