Sunday, April 26, 2009

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.

We took off outta Brandon at a leisurely rate of spped. CD was twanging out some Buddy Miller. Of course, we returned listening to John Prine. But that was much later. In between we Floridarized. The rural route. You know, a road trip.
As any good day must start, our began with those 4 words, "Whadda ya wanna do?" And I replied, "I want to head south, out of the pavement and into the trees. " "You got a place in mind?" "Kinda. I want to head down Myakka City and Lakewood Ranch way. Never been there." And so we did.
Down we went, through McMansionville...I mean, Fish Hawk Ranch, on down to Duette, Wachula, Ona, Myakka Head (which sounded more interesting than it turned out to be), and finally into Myakka City (it's own pitiful self).
Along the way we found ourselves getting more and more rural. You know you're in the middle of nowhere when even Mosiac Corporation ain't mining big old holes in the ground and shipping your county off one truckload at a time to be fertilizer. We found ourselves State Parks, County Parks, Recreation Areas, and Preserves. There were 4 places that we found that are on our "Fer Sure" list of places to go back and fish. Hardee Lakes Park, near Wachula is at the top.
As we were headed West on Highway 64 we passed a small sign that said "SOLOMAN'S CASTLE" with an arrow pointed down a tiny side road heading, it appeared, to even more middle of nowhere than the nowhere where we currently were....or weren't. "Wanna see a castle?" "Of course." Since we had missed the left turn to take us there, we pulled a U-turn and then hung a right. And, mathmetically, that is correct.

This is where we ended up. Soloman's Castle & Photographs (These are early pics it seems, as there are much, much more sculptures, iguanas (live), and flowers now.) In case you are wondering, lunch in the boat on the moat consisted of corned beef on rye (me) and BBQ pork (DRE). Plus I had a banana milk shake...'cause I could. It was the perfect lunch for a perfect road trip afternoon.

While walking on a small trail near the grounds, we detoured off path. Like a crow is drawn to shiny objects, we are drawn to bodies of water, no matter how small. The creek, which was full of fish, including loads of gar resting right there in the shallows, had given us a different personality at every bend. We had walked over to look at this curve in the creek, drawn by the incredibly green carpet of groundcover providing a contrast to the vibrant yellow of the black-eyed susans. We enjoyed the moment and then turned to return to the path.

We saw a container, hung on a tree branch. Small, about the diameter of an Oreo cookie and maybe 6 inches long. It had spanish moss pulled over it on the side that faced the trail. But coming from the direction of the creek, it was pretty easy to spot. We thought we'd found somebody's stash. Turned out we'd discovered a cache. We pored through the items, added our own, and replaced it. Since we are not goecachers, but rather accidental discoverers, we did not have much on us to put in there. DRE dropped in a dime and I added a business card for Cafe Koalo, a Latin restaurant I like up in St. Pete.

We spent the better part of the day doing all of this. Like I say, we were in a particularly non-rush mode and we stopped a lot to observe, ponder, photograph, and sometimes, pee. Leaving the area, still on 64 West, we came upon I-75 just outside of Bradenton. We hopped on it northbound, travelling, to the great consternation of every other northbound motorist, at a blistering 60 MPH. Buddy Miller had long since given way to Sonia Dada . Now, sensing the road trip was quickly coming to termination, the CD changer slid back around to the Disk 1 position, bringing in John Prine's Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings.

Remember, Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian, out
Ramblin' Ed
Dreamer June 1980

The whole world is warped and distorted
the old man acknowledged
With young men in search of quick fame
and no real thirst for knowledge
Young women in chains
playing older girl's games
Got a fantasy mistress to please you
Stand fast by your dreams, my young citizens,
else they will leave you

You young people seem starry eyed
the old man went on
and your cynical smiles echo
endlessly on the new dawn
What problems confront you
soon melt in your mind
'Neath the heartaches of yesteryear
frozen in time
They'll rape you and leave you lie freezing
and then who will cry?

What a farce, what a travesty
written and glowing in red
Vodka and orange juice popsicles
dance in your head
Then the dreams disappear
in the thin mountain air
and the fantasy mistresses leave you
Stand fast by your dreams, my young citizens,
they will appease you

The mist in the street hung low
like a soft mother breast
A single sad trolley was singing
the songs he knew best
While solemnly following tracks he laid down
his yellowed eye searching the depths of the town
for a young man with dreams
that he hoped some day might come true
But the rage he kept hidden,
like clockwork, was now turning blue

Appease me! Release me!
Or otherwise beat me!, I cried
For time will not stop
when another young dreamer has died
The poets have spoken,
but no one has heard
Your brother lies bleeding
'neath more misspelled words
And I, in my ignorance, beg that someday I might see
That, I concluded, exposes the depths of my schemes

And the whole world is warped and distorted
the old man acknowledged

Ed San Diego, CA