It’s 3:30 in the morning and the rain has woke me. I can’t help, but hear it’s relentlessness, on my tin roof. It use to be louder, until I let an asshole stay here, for a while and he insulated over my bedroom, which had become his temporary bedroom. The sound of the rain brings joy to my heart. It promotes contemplation. It heals me. It washes the earth.
That guy was a pain in my ass.
When I was young, on a Saturday afternoon, in the middle of this neighborhood, looking to score, at the local tavern, The Island Bar, and found myself surrounded by police cars, I was shocked to be white.It was so obvious. They were there to break up a fight, I was really wishing I was a different color. They looked at me, cutting their eyes, saying, “what the hell are you doing here?”
I live in Fernandina Beach, which is now known as Amelia Island. The Island has had that name since 1562, however, Amelia became obsolete through the years. But sales and marketing is paramount these days, and well, it does sound pretty.
It use to be a small fishing village. Those were the days. And then came, “The Plantation.” Back in the mid 70’s, development dug it’s first foot hold, and has yet to cease. The once beautiful island is home. to concrete, electrical wires, golf course chemicals and a large population of high end vehicles, either sreaming from one red light to another, or creeping at a syrupy slow pace, driven by an ocatarian, hoping to arrive alive.
We all want to arrive alive. We all want to enjoy the island. For me, it becomes more and more of an endeavor, day by day. I am a minimalist. I like to surf fish. I use one rig. I hold it in my hand. I now share the beach with a slew of fisherman. Most will have four or five pole holders for each person in the car.
Yes, we drive our vehicles on the beach, in designated areas. At one time, we had access to the coastline. Now we are limited to one mile, of beach.
And it’s all because of the turtles. They are endangered. So, mile by mile we have been removed from the beach, to protect them. OK. I love nature. I love the turtles. I will hunker down, in between the other nature lovers, and catch my fish. I follow the rules. I have to. If I don’t there’s a man, in a truck who will promptly arrest me.
The day started out like any other. I checked my Facebook. Running Fat Chef, had an interesting post. She usually does. I have followed her, for a while. She’s a runner and athlete, not skinny. She is powerful and outspoken. I relate to a lot of her posts, about comments from people, concerning her body. I use to experience similar critiques, in my running days.
She mentioned the term “crabs in a barrel”; which I know as “crabs in a bucket”. When I first learned this term, I was in college. It was showed to us on a film. When you place, crabs in a bucket, if one tries to climb out, all of the other crabs will try to pull them back down.
The message I got from this is, don’t let them get you. Pull yourself up and over.
I earned a B.F.A.. My paintings were out of the box. When I graduated, my piece in the senior show, stole the limelight. People were angry. It was controversial, and if I do say so, it was good. I had to work hard to not let people sway me. The same as when I worked as a plumber, in the 70’s. I was told constantly, “Why don’t you get a job, in an office?” I got my master’s license and then became uninterested. I’ve always surfed. Women did not surf. I was berated as a youngster, for this endeavor. Seems strange now, but that’s the way it was, in the sixties. I left the country. (getting the hell away from people) Zero help from friends and family. I asked my mother if she would get my mail. She promptly told me, if I wanted my mail, to stay home. I went to Costa Rica, not realizing, the world was going to be, on my heels. It goes on and on.
Anyway, I know how people want you to be like them. Often it’s, with a job, in debt, out of shape, etc.
So, when Running Fat Chef, mentioned “crabs in a barrel”, and she said she thought it was a disgusting term, I asked her why.
Whoa!!! Did I ever step into a pile of shit.
I was told to mind my p’s and q’s. And that white women should be silent and listen. My internal response was WTF. I was told by another woman, on this thread, that I was being an ass. WHAT?
It was just a question. And I was being assaulted, by an angry mob of white women. I was viewed as being antagonistic to the Chef. Who is way to cool to ever behave like these whiney women. They see me one way, I see them another. Who the hell are they to critique my question. They were doing the same thing to me that the Chef talks about people doing to her. I told that woman to mind her own business. Nothing like a good, misunderstood barrage of crap, on the internet.
Of course, the Running Fat Chef, explained her perspective, and I PM’d her my thanks, and commented on some other posts. Like the one where she is in a pink sports bra and she gets asked, “Where is your shirt?” —– some people —
Anyway, the woman that gave me this joystick beat down, is as white as the glaze on a Dunkin Donut’s donut. She’s from New Mexico, and she’s a mental health counselor. Her goal in life is to spread joy.
I guess part of that is through policing Running Fat Chef’s page.
She said she thought I was a fragile individual. If she only knew.
I am as shattered as Tiffany glass, tossed from the edge of an empty septic tank.
If you believe that, you will believe anything.
I said good-bye to Running Fat Chef.
It’s the same as my beloved neighborhood. All these whiteys are ruining my day.
I thought it was time I let y’all know that I am black.
Thank God the truth has come out.
The truth will set you free, but first it will make you very nervous.
I was in her apartment. It was a two bedroom, one bath, concrete hovel. It was navy housing. The war was going on and I loved to smoke pot and listen to Cat Stevens. I was in the company, of a stranger, strange neighbor.
She shared with me that her parents were in the KKK. She was so proud, of her father in his robes, when she would attend rallies with them. She told me about the philosophies, of the KKK. They wanted to keep the white race white.
She boasted that her boyfriend, of the time, was a leader, during the 1964 St. Augustine Rallies. She claimed they fed a black man, to the hogs. She laughed.
I was silent. I loved Cat Stevens. I was twelve.
I went to visit a relative, who worked in the Georgia education system. She was so proud of her job. She told me how stupid the black children were. They just had to deal with them, but it was so difficult and a waste a time. My backbone straightened and I came down upon her with an intellectual vengeance. I showed her who was stupid.
I walked out, went home and rarely ever visited again. I was 36..
I had a friend that I admired. She was an artist and a middle school teacher. I went to her class, to see the students work. She let me know, which work, was from black children. She said they had zero creativity.
I could no longer be her friend. I was 40
I was close to an older woman, who told me her Daddy owned nigger town. She made the claim, that black people could only go so far in education. They couldn’t cut it. They would quit and give up. And she abhorred Venus Williams. She believed that Venus had destroyed women’s tennis. She was a highly respected and affluent member, of the Jacksonville community.
I stayed by her side, until her death. I was continually shocked at her class consciousness and racism. I am in my sixties.
I still like Cat Stevens
Racism, friends and family, and overgrown children who don’t know how to be civil.
Yes, for God’s sake, don’t ever speak up. Don’t loose it. Hold it inside. Sing a song. Look the other way. Take it on the chin. Pull yourselves up by the bootstraps. Dodge the bullet. Don’t throw water on the burning cross, that would be too uncivil.
I saw a post on Facebook, concerning a protest. It was a rally, planned for today, to solicit, once again, the removal of a Confederate soldier from it’s high perch, in Hemming Park. It’s centered in, the ever angry and racist city, of Jacksonville, Florida. My hometown.
It’s a city, with a large black population. People who were brought here from Senegal, Africa, to be slaves. They are mostly all hemm-ed up, in a part of town, the North West Quadrant.
If you didn’t intentionally, or accidentally drive through there, you would never know it existed. – It’s shocking.
Last year, the muses inspired me, to go down there and do some photography. It never happened.
I had planned to attend the rally today. However, things changed. The Confederate soldier was removed, from the park. Now that some time has passed, I suspect, to keep it safe, for a future re-positioning. But let’s hope not. Maybe, it will be put in a museum.
Today, the rally is going to be in front of the Jax Courthouse. They are protesting police violence.
My still small voice, said, Don’t go. So, I’m not going.
I will be in my house, in my chair, breathing and meditating.
The rally is at three. I will be present, I will have my eyes closed and I will be One with the Universe.
I’ve done something unusual today. I am on my porch writing. I am in my daughter’s alcove. It’s where she comes outside to smoke, on her too brief, visits with me. It’s on the street side of my home, where I have two, white rockers, in between a round table, covered with a nice table cloth from a second hand shop, around the corner.
It’s almost becoming too light, for me, to feel at ease, out here, in my bathrobe. In my too thick, soft, warm and embracing coat of comfort ~
2 the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress: a few words of comfort | they should take comfort that help is available. • [in singular] a person or thing that helps to alleviate a difficult situation: his friendship was a great comfort. 3 US dialect a warm quilt.
The wind blows hard through the tree, across the street. It makes the rushing sound of impending rain. Rain that will pass us by, today, The bird, that sang alone, is now in concert, with others near by and blocks down the road.
The first car passed at 5:26. They were in a hurry.
I took the picture above, in yesterday’s evening. Around the bend were hoards of people. Everyone enjoying themselves. Children swimming, on the edge of the dangerous currents, of the Nassau River. Not a care in the world.
Back to my right, are fishermen. Some good and others, not so good.
We had to leave when the fish started biting, due to one of the many laws and regulations, here on Amelia Island. You cannot be on the beach, after sundown.
I took all of the comfort that I could out get, in my afternoon hours, walking with my feet in the sand. Smiling at all of the people; Latin, Asian, People of Color and Anglos. We were of different cultures. We were all mixto, and no problemo.
But not far down the road in Jacksonville, there is protest and riots, in the streets. They are working towards compromise, but I can’t help but feel, that the white people want the black people back in their cage.
I am a wild thing.
I live on this Island, that is over run. It is being inhabited by greed. The greedy ~
greed·y| ˈɡrēdē | adjective (greedier, greediest) having or showing an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth or power: greedy thieves who plundered a defense contractor. • having an excessive desire or appetite for food. ~
Everyone wants their slice, but the pie is only so big.
So, the Island has become pie in the sky.
I sit on my porch and enjoy the breeze, momentarily, unhindered by the stench of the mill. I enjoy nature and I wait on it’s Mother.
We are born, to soon learn, that we are going to die.
I really don’t know about other people’s inner lives. Communication has a way of drifting. It’s ethereal. And yet, it’s can be heavy, as a tombstone. An albatross. A spirit of unrelenting fear. Or, it can be as equally uplifting as a hot air balloon. Raising you above, to elevate you, and present a wide angle view. A unique and exhilarating vista.
I have experienced both.
I am a part of humanity. I accept it. I surrender. I give in.
Yesterday, I was reading a thread on Facebook, in a group Fernandina Surfers. It was addressing the issues of lifeguarding, in the time of pandemic. However, it touched a nerve in me, that was yet, another one of those issues of aging.
The word that set me off in their dialogue was “enforcement”. I dislike enforcement, therefore, according to the dictionary, I am cynical.
I made the simple comment, of having mixed feelings, concerning lifeguards. Some, white haired, old man named Bert, called me a cynical old woman. I know lifeguards have their place, but that’s part of the problem. I don’t want a sixteen year old, with braces, telling me where and how to swim. They will look at me and my grey hair and think I shouldn’t go out deeper than my waist.
Reading the comments, on the thread, my mind reflected on vivid memories, of being a child and swimming, in the ocean. I would bend my knees and duck under the waves. I would feel it pass over me. I learned about the rhythm of the sea. I was taught about run outs, and how to deal with them. I swam far out beyond the breakers. I swam every day all day long, only stopping for lunch, a rest, and then back out until the sun went down.
No lifeguard. – I would not have been allowed.
I swam in the salt springs of Florida. They were freezing. I would dive and check out the caves; my mother put a permanent fear mark, of caves, in the depths of my being. The same as the currents in rivers. The St. John’s River will swallow you whole, and only a fool would ski there. After civilization moved in, I was whistled at and removed from an area by security, because of alligators. I have swam, in that spring since 1960. I’m sure alligators were there before then, as they are now. It’s Florida!