This is the little chapel by the sea on Captiva. There is something so serene about this place- I love it.
My travels south started out with traffic jams and a grumpy hubby who said we are never taking our vacation by car again-back to the sky next year. The drive was my idea. It had been a long time since I traveled afar by car, we always fly to our destinations but I had this romantic idea of the open road and little kitschy places tucked away off the beaten path just waiting to be discovered by me.
You know that dream of mine… hopping in a hippie van and traveling the us with my camera and a journal, documenting every ounce of cool and kitschy I can find.
The cool and the kitschy were not along the expressway and I didn’t take many pics, didn’t even write one sentence in my journal. I’m not sure why, it just didn’t happen.
The ride home was a little different. We were forced to get off the beaten path when the expressway was nearly closed down due to the insane amount of people heading north after spring break and the snow birds heading back to Michigan. This was a good thing!
Although I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures or jot things down in my journal, (hubby was driving like a mad man in an attempt to get out of Florida and get away from the people he claimed didn’t know how to drive, I was hanging on for dear life) I did see some things that were amazing and kind of surreal. I saw tiny shacks and mini log cabins that looked like something out of the 1930’s. They were full of life, clothes hanging on the line, junk scattered across the yard, children playing out front and one with an alligator hook hanging over the pond, baited and ready to catch sunday’s dinner. It was hard to believe we were still in Florida or the U.S. for that matter.
Since I didn’t get a chance to take pics at rapid speed,( hubby wasn’t stopping for anything at that point) I borrowed this image of a Florida shack from sxc.hu.
We passed tiny houses that looked like they hadn’t been changed or updated in 80 years or more. Just as I felt like we had entered a time warp, we would pass a modern gas station or car dealership, out in the middle of nowhere. It was interesting and kind of amazing too. This was the old Florida drive I remember taking as a child, very rural and charming. I guess one could feel sad when looking at the dilapidated places along the road but it just wasn’t like that. They were full of life and seemed to be a lifestyle that was lived on purpose, simpler and uncomplicated, or so it seemed, maybe this was just my romantic side believing that these people had chosen a life that imitated a simpler and happier time for them . I can’t believe how much lives differ from one area to another.
This trip was restful and refreshing but it stirred up that wander-lust inside me. I’m just itching to hop that hippie bus to destinations unknown, journal in hand, camera ready.
It becomes obvious to me that I live in rural America when I come across a folky scene just like the one I encountered yesterday. Okay it went like this: I was driving home from the big city, well what I call the big city, and while cruising down the highway listening to the radio I almost had an accident. Why, because to my left in a little country cemetery, where my Grandparents are buried, was a horse trailer. I thought to myself, “that’s odd why is a horse trailer parked in the cemetery.” Then I took a closer look and saw a man with his hat in his hand holding the reins to his horse. They both stood in front of a grave stone. It was as if they were praying or paying respects to a loved one who had passed. I was so astonished by what I saw and I really wanted to get off the highway and take a picture but something told me not to impose and keep it as a visual memory. It was an unforgettable sight. I wish I could have captured it with my camera but I guess that would have been rude.
Speaking of rural America I recently came across some info on my southern roots. They are about as rural as one can get. The rumor has always been that my great-grandmother was an American Indian but I found some info to the contrary. She may really have been a gypsy. She never really said anything about where she came from or who her family was. It was just assumed by the way she looked, long braid down her back, long skirts to the floor, dark eyes, weathered skin, etc that she was Indian. Duci was silent about her life and her past. The gypsy evidence would explain a lot, like her total separation with her family, no birth certificate, her fortune telling predictions, odd beliefs and stories,. I didn’t know her well, the truth is she kind of scared me by the way she would look at me like she knew something I didn’t and then just turn and walk away.
Gypsies weren’t welcome anywhere back then and many tried to pass themselves off as Native Americans because that group was better excepted. I’ve always wondered how roots or ethnicity play a role in who we are, even if we were never exposed to that culture. I’m curious to know if certain tendencies creep in because of our DNA. What do you think?