Archive for March, 2011

And…. Cut!

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Like a cruel joke, the very moment we were pulling into our new campground for a week in the Florida Everglades, an alligator was strolling through.   A pond sits like a black yolk in the middle of the place, and this gator, all smiley smug,  passes right through sites 13 and 14 to go for a dip.  This was about a 6-footer, big  enough to have folks picking up their pooches like they were all Madison Avenue fancy…..  By day 2 there were three gators hanging out, one which had arrived during the night and had everyone’s hackles up– a big 10-12ft whopper that  patrolled the pond with professional menace.  He’d occasionally approach one of the smaller ones, then rudder off with nonchalance to the other end of the pond for an 8 hour nap.  If this is how alligators do their mating dance, let’s just say they are smooth navi-gators.  I guess you could say taking their time is right up their… alley.  Needless to say, our habitual  “Gotta hit the can? Take it outside!” practice took on a whole  new dimension.  (Especially at night:  “Shine the light!  You see anything?  Ok, don’t look… Shine the light!  Don’t loo– SHINE IT!!!”)  

Who knew Florida, the land of tans and tall condos, threw such a heavy wildlife punch?  We didn’t.  But we can’t stop raving about the park system there.  Up north  off the panhandle, we practically had the state parks to ourselves:  Blackwater River (saw cottonmouth),  Grayton Beach (the sweet white sand sings when you walk on it),  Manatee Springs (saw manatees and armadillos), Hillsborough (saw alligators, wild boars).  And then Big Cypress in the Everglades– what a primitive place!  We took some great hikes in Florida, and they all carried a different kind of awareness for all the things that creepeth and crawleth (and swimmeth) on the earth (and in the pond).  Yes, Nature, you have our full respect and attention.  John and the girls saw the biggest rattler they’d ever seen, and supposedly if you drive far enough into the ‘Glades, you can spot big long boas.  We took a crazy gorgeous 15-mile bike ride in Shark Valley, where you get so used to seeing alligators, I stopped counting at 95.   It’s good to know these massive wild places still exist, and that the realm we can visit is just a fraction of it.

Ok, pedaling back a stitch:  Austin, (who doesn’t love Austin?), the Alamo, and time to officially head east.   
Louisiana was like walking through gumbo:  great, gooey and peppered with the slow-mo memory of an old life there.  I went to college in New Orleans (Tulane), and revisiting Louisiana 20 years after graduation is still a thrill.  I’m 41, but in New Orleans I will forever be 18.  It’s impossible not to drive down the mansion-crusted St. Charles St, or prowl below the curtain-licked late-night balconies of the French Quarter, or hold your breath past graveyards frozen in their grim stony-molared smiles– and NOT feel like you did when you arrived at 18.  I still swoon.

Things we did on the bayou:  boating on the bayou, eating mudbugs from the bayou, cypress trees in the bayou, holding baby alligators and watching them swim by you on the bayou.   
Things we did in New Orleans:  visited Tulane, former favorite professors and room-mates; slinked through the Quarter in the rain; feasted at K-Paul’s, feasted here, feasted there, feasted feasted everywhere….

 Fairhope, Alabama, is also a place I relish from my college days; a beautiful town on the Mobile Bay.  We stayed with some cousins, Deb and Rick, who showed us a royal time.  We pulled Harvey up in front of their pretty house and lived in style for a few days.  I saw an old friend, a beautiful soul and writer, Ronnie Everett Capps, and it was like seeing a tree you once loved to climb or sit beneath.  Sad and happy all at once.      

While in Florida we cut a brief 3-day page out of our road story to fly up to Washington, DC.  John’s dad, also named John Adams, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (for his dedication to protecting the Environment and founding NRDC) from Barack Obama!  John got to go the White House for the event, and we all got to join in on all the other various celebrations.  It was a big Adams Family event and one to be treasured bigtime.  We also saw my lovable cousins, Lesley, Deb and Don, who charmed the kids while I looked for something to wear that didn’t smell or look like a road bum, which is what I am, thank you very much!

Back in Florida  we bided our time, seeking seashells and pink-orange sunsets, until my mom flew in to visit us.  We hung out with the gators…. ate good Cuban food…. shimmied into Miami where we saw one of my longest-time friends, Patrick, and swam in the warm teal water.  And then my sweet mama arrived.  I could write an entire blog on what a heavenly mom I have, but I’d never finish this one.  So now you know:  I love my mom like air, ocean and bread, all nestled up in one warm bowl of Everything.

We were planted in Ft. Lauderdale for a while, where we also got to visit with one of the coolest people I know:  my Uncle Colonel.  He has a name (Ellis), but to me he is and always will be Uncle Colonel.  His specialty was tanks in World War II, and he was field promoted by General Patton himself.  It was a love fest for him and the girls, and he and John hit it off like wildfire, too.  (I love being married to John; he can talk to anyone  and makes me look good.)

In Orlando we hit a Mardi Gras party my cousins held.  Then I kissed my man and kids, and they wheeled away.   I stayed around to do some VO work and bask in solo time with my lovin’ mom.   We talked and talked over meals with our humorous  relatives and then cuddled up in hotel sheets, eating ice cream….. 
Meanwhile,  John and the girls drove Harvey the RV overnight to Asheville, NC. where they got to see their gorgeous great-grandma Dee.  Her beauty and still, southern poise could move a mountain.  Lulu loved her strong hands; Zelda liked her humor; John loved the words that flowed from her heart.  In NC, they also picked up something very cute, furry, and with razor-edged little teeth:  a puppy!!  Yup.  After 12 years of no-dog apartment rentals and 7 months of RV living, the girls finally got their biggest (and perhaps Lu’s only-ever) wish– a sweetly devilish cup of canine happiness we named Cherokee (“Cherry” for short).  Instant bliss.  And a perfect name, considering Lulu has been teaching herself the Cherokee language (part of John’s maternal lineage) and that our new family member is truly the cherry on top of our 7-month, many-layered cake.

Then: John and the girls ate lightning and Harvey chugged caffeine.  They blazed such a fast path north, they tattooed the Interstate.  Their skid marks screamed “Beaverkill or Bust.”   

And that’s exactly where we are now, in Beaverkill, NY at our homegrown mountain haven.  I’d say it’s a bittersweet stick to chew on– (after all, we’ve been on a freedom fast-track for 7 months.  Daily injections of new roads, new tastes, new knowledge…. Like life, in concentrate:  jam-packed with juicy stories, growth, and crazygood things….)  — But it would be a waste of time to get all maudlin about it.   We love it here in our chunk of Catskill glory.   John is back at his art, which is looking sexy as hell.  I’ll be hopping down to NYC now and then to do the rounds.  There’s home school, new soccer teams, and all the creature comfort that comes with living in one’s own house.  There’s a dog to take on long woodsy walks….. And there’s our film!   Rumblestrips is in need of trimming and shaping and endless hours of sound landscaping, scoring……  It’s looking good, and hopefully in a few months it’ll be able to look you in the eye from its perch on a screen somewhere near you!  But ’til then, there’s serious work to be done.

Wait.  Am I forgetting something?  Maybe… a 30-foot mean-motored house on wheels?   Ahh,  Harvey, Harvey, the guardian of our bones and vandal of our hearts…..   As of now, he is in earned repose on a snowy field nearby.   Strangely frozen in time like a ghost town’s daughter, he still houses all of our stuff inside:  weathered maps, campfire-scented unmated socks, sand dollars and sand from our shoes, feathers and rocks and clothes and books and all the hot fingerprints of happy times….  But Harvey will be resurrected.   We will be here for a while– how long?  Who knows!– but Harvey has not kissed his last horizon.  And neither have we, folks.  Hell no!

Stay tuned.