Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sharing My Keys

On the horizon the Sombrero Lighthouse rises up showing some human made objects can withstand massive hurricanes.
Humans seem so frail sometimes, recoiling from danger, treated to careful instructions that if followed will remove any element of danger or surprise fear or discomfort. The signs annoy me because the intent is to remove the "liability" factor from our lives. Insurance companies and lawsuits rule us all with the unanswerable argument that liability makes everything impossibly unsafe. There is no room for personal decision making. I'd much rather see an information board explaining the risks and letting each and every one decide how much to assume. But here as in so many places, one size fits all.
Because I am naturally law abiding I would never cross a line made so prohibitive as the one above. I seek out danger elsewhere...
The ravages of nature are especially burdensome to me here at the highest point in the Lower Keys. I have often pointed out this is the only place you can wander on something that remotely resembles a hill. This is where I can look down on the water.  So I do.
Finally we are moved back into our house after three weeks in the city of Key West and this change makes it possible for me to let Rusty loose on his favorite wilderness trails and he likes going wild from time to time. I stand back and watch. 
He seemed to enjoy his urban street walks but he was very excited to get home and have a dog door again and a place in the sun on the deck, and an open driveway to lounge in, unfettered by fences or restrictions. He doesn't go anywhere but he likes to know he could if he wanted to. A very human trait I find.
I think the iguanas are having a hard time here. As resilient as they are they need food and drink and here there is next to none. Perhaps it was the heat but I saw far fewer than previously in the twigs that used to be bushes.
He doesn't like to swim and were I an actuary I probably would forbid him from standing on the edge. As it is I watch and hope I don't have to jump in to save him. He lived on the streets for many months and I suspect he is more savvy than am I.
They're back and I'm not at all sure how I feel about them. The tourists are back bringing money and driving slowly as they admire the piles of junk that have become the backdrop to our daily lives. I confess I find it irritating. I am not surprised animals in zoos fall into states of depression. 
The argument is always presented as an economic issue as though that is supposed to salve the irritation. "We bring money." Indeed and that fact just adds to the feeling of inadequacy. We can't get by without them and they know it, and we know it and we aren't allowed to be anything other than charming like circus performers. Our homes may be wrecked and our cars flooded but if we want our jobs we have to perform for our supper. And not show irritation that this is our lot.
I want to camouflage myself like a dog in a thicket because I have am acute sense of apartness ever since Irma. I've never felt this way before and maybe this time I feel like this because Irma was horrendous and I lived through it and I have been displaced for the first time in my life and even though I am now home, in my head I am not. 
Here they come, ready to explore the barren hillside, the leafless bushes, the piles of smelly seaweed and clearly my feelings of resentment are absurd. I need to be more like my dog, but I am not ready to share.
I enjoyed the isolation right after the storm, the absence of people and traffic, the highway closed in Florida City and the closure making evacuees crazy with worry...But for me down here it was a different story. To be in the Keys while underpopulated was an experience worth living. Before the storm there was a sense of foreboding combined with frantic energy from people who had procrastinated getting ready. After the storm, the worst had happened and it was time to assess in a meditative way.
After the storm normal rules of behavior were thrust into the background. Driving ( or riding) was an adventure and speed limits seemed absurdly optimistic on roads covered in debris. The absence of fuel, stores or services was an incentive to look inward and experience for a few short days the social experiment of living wild. It was as close to living the zombie apocalypse as I ever expect to experience. And now these amateurs are treating my life changing experience as a playground. And paying for their trouble.
Gas lines are gone, the National Guard and FEMA are still visible in our communities but I have electricity and internet and the air conditioning is working at least for now. I can order food for delivery and I can plan a few activities for my days off. I live la vida loca LINK
 I am trying to look beyond the destruction and see the transformation as a new expression of how we live so I set the camera to monochrome and I try to see things another way:
 Rocks are solid and look able to withstand anything. The power of wind and water is deceptive.
 Greenery is coming back slowly.
 And the wind keeps blowing.
 Not everyone is on vacation:
Like shorebirds they bend and peck and I can only assume they seek shells to hoard at home and gloat over.
 Until digital photography made collecting easy I never collected anything much. 
Now I collect images and as I stare back at them I wonder when the parks will re-open, when normal will descend on us again.
 The reminders of our trauma  are everywhere:
Keep on keeping on.

5 comments:

Janet Luling said...

The people in some of these pics remind me of my husband. He collects fossils, rocks and minerals. Every once in a while he finds something nice. He picks up sea glass to make into jewelry, but the most of what he finds are coins. Mostly pennies, but he finds quite a few. I suppose the people in the photo are thinking they will find some silver or gold.

Conchscooter said...

I wasn't sure what to think. Except they found something positive to do in the mess.

Anonymous said...

I've had two experiences in Key West and it's environs. The first time down i was a tourist. I met some interesting people on both sides of the bar and continued on via the internet as 'friends' and 'acquaintances". The 2nd time down, did NONE of the tourist things, and just kicked back and enjoyed their company. The 2nd trip was a TRUE vacation. I try so hard not to be a tourist wherever i go. It's a challenge but so much more rewarding. Mike in Somerset NJ.

Cody G said...

I enjoyed these pictures and your thoughts on tourists being a necessary evil. great post. The water in the picture with the white bird looks like a painting, its beautiful.

Trobairitz said...

I am glad tha you are home and Rusty has his dog door back.

It never crossed my mind before your post, about the tourists returning as ogling the chaos and destruction that remains. I understand your zoo analogy and would have to agree with you.