Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood


God, what a sunset. A thin yellow laser beam shoots across my shoulder as I sit on the sofa. It beams straight across and pins a dotted sixteenth note on the Antonio Soler Sonata in G Major where it rests on the old piano. Only ten minutes ago, a hard sideways rain was loud here in the cottage, waves of sound announcing its approach. It dissipated quickly, leaving the woods washed clean.

Buck and I step outside and look around in wonder at the blue sky streaked with dark clouds. A preternatural stillness frames the dark trees. They are shot through with sun gold.

We live in the extreme northwestern tip of Florida, the so-called panhandle, hundreds of miles from the current predicted path of Hurricane Frances. We have friends whose home on Pine Island near Naples was miraculously spared when Hurricane Charley hit. They have a second home in the Florida Keys, an investment property that is rented out most of the year. They also have a motor home, and ferry between their two properties with their doberman pinscher, the gentle Gussie. We talked to them today, asking whether they are running to or from the storm, or if they are just stuck in traffic. They are both scuba divers and plan to bring a cooler of just-caught Florida lobsters to us when they stop by for a sleepover on their way to a relative’s wedding in Tennessee.

I ordered a box of organic fruits and greens as our contribution to the festivities, to honor the pristine lobsters with fine, fresh, simple accompaniments. It won’t arrive until early next week due to storm worries. Because of the storm itself and the wedding schedule, our friends won’t arrive until the first of next week either.  At this point, the niceties of dinner party planning go by the boards anyway. We just want everyone to be safe.

Florida is like New York state in one respect. People who don’t know New York think the City is the whole state. Upstate is a world away. Florida is like that. It’s not just Miami or Mickey. Pensacola is much closer in miles and heart to New Orleans.

For now, our weather report for the weekend is a big smiling sunshine face. That said, the only weather report I fully trust is the sun or rain on my nose, and the wind in our own trees.

Our friends, Denny Coates (known to many of you, an author and former Book of Life blogger) and his wife, the excellent photographer Kathleen Scott, are out there in the great Somewhere tonight, taking care of themselves and their feline friends, probably in Savannah, Georgia. They had to leave their beautiful garden, library, art work, photos and beloved home on the Indian River to seek the necessary higher ground to ensure they can live to love another day.

We wish them and all on the planet safe harbor, especially the hostage Russian babies.

Note:  Denny is blogging again! I’ll tell you all about it in a post upcoming shortly. Stay tuned!

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