The ‘loop’ was great! If there was anything ‘wrong’ with it, it was that after paddling the Silver River, all else had somewhat of a mundane feel to it. ‘Paddling,’ seems to hold my greatest interest at the moment.
The back roads were relaxing, plus the ride was more peaceful and efficient than I expected – worth every mile. Still finding it difficult to ‘just stop’ and snap a picture, but its coming – seems like there are a thousand in my head that I missed. But the trip remained one of a few simple objectives with no itinerary, no plans – the only one that loomed was the one of a return date prior to Thanksgiving.
From Madeira Beach I returned to the interstate and the ‘hypertension’ that radiates from the frenzy of it all – the drive to Fort Myers was swift in comparison to the ride of the last few days.
Once in Fort Myers I tried to slow it down a bit and ride a few of the small streets that at one time encapsulated my whole world. Most of the familiar places were now camouflaged under forty years of change.
I remember a few years back in riding past the home that I was pretty much raised in and noticing a couple relaxing in the driveway. I stopped and chatted with them for a short time, in the conversation I mentioned that I had been raised in the house – and the lady began telling me how her family and children (now grown) had also been raised in the house, the only home that they knew – my homeplace.
I felt a mixed emotions as I returned to my car and drove away, there was a little bit of a loss to my special place. The feeling of ‘home,’ at one-time my complete safe-haven, my families home – now belonged to others.
I suppose too that I began looking at things a little differently on that date, I was forced to realize that generations of folks cover the trails of our past, likely as we covered those before us – its an ongoing cycle of life. The true meaning of the statement “you can never go ‘home again’ rang clear in my heart.
Saturday night at the gathering of long-time friends and classmates I put my camera down and enjoyed a full evening of reminiscing with familiar eyes. It was held in a large nursery of Palm trees and exotic plants, a very nice setting full of fun conversation surrounding past endeavors.
I stayed afterward spending the night among those familiar Palm trees.
The following day I visited and stayed with another friend Dewey I slept on his porch 16 floors above the water – a good nights sleep while my feet and senses slowly returned to normal after the previous evenings cocktails. Sure he had an extra bedroom, but heck – anyone can sleep in a bedroom… I slept with the sounds of the Caloosahatchee river surrounding me.
Next objective was to visit my Dad in Sanford, so I tried to run all the old back roads to see and feel the changes – two-hundred miles later I walked in to find Dad napping in his easy chair; at 83 he can rest anytime he likes….
The sharp-witted, vibrant, active father that eagerly anticipated – showed obvious signs of forgetfulness and clarity. The man that was always up at daylight pushing his son to follow, “let’s get it!” – now needed assistance to stand – and he depended on a ‘scooter’ for mobility. This was all new to me… another of life’s curves. I suppose being able to experience such crossroads should be considered a privilege. Dad was in and out on conversation, and slipping far faster than I realized – three months later he passed-on; WT Haynie 1926-2010.
After a perplexing afternoon with Dad I was back on the road driving the bacroads of Georgia – my heart was heavy as my head was full. It wasn’t as fun as the trip South. My father and I shared many miles on these highways, and I just love traveling, the ride, the character of the land; getting from here to there.
Six hundred miles later I made home, the lakehouse (4am) and fell soundly asleep in 20 minutes – that’s quick for me.
So I guess this ‘loop’ (the lap south and back) was practice, a first adjustment to traveling in a more relaxed (retired) manner – life is so very good.