Tuesday, November 09, 2004

"There is no fever that a 10-mile hike can't cure."

One thing I neglected to mention in my post about the weekend trip was a stop we made just before leaving Tallahassee: The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. The location is inconspicuously just outside of town, and Mrs. Mosley and I had only known of it through the signs for it along I-10. We paid out four dollar per car entry fee and went in. The beginning of the trail contained more trees and bushes than gardens, but the air was crisp and cool having finally gotten some winter weather here in November. Eventually, the brick path reached Lake Hall, and I was stunned by the view before me.

The lake was calm and contained some patches of lily pads along the edges. Aside from some tasteful and impressive houses on the other side of the lake, there were no garish signs of human presence here. We sat in wrought iron chairs on a covered patio that was built next to the lake and simply breathed it all in. It was peaceful and beautiful and reminded me of how much joy you can obtain from the simple things.

I was reminded of this when I went through some of my recent emails this morning. In the weeks that preceded the election, I received a number of emails from my inlaws debating the candidates and the issues. One of them, from Mrs. Mosely's grandfather, was a scan of a Garrison Keillor essay from the November 1st issue of Time. I'm sorry to say that I just got around to looking at it today. It concerned the ways in which people could cope with the aftermath of the election, especially if your guy lost. Keillor extols the simple pleasures that remain regardless of who sits in the White House. To wit:

"...our common love of coffee, the world of apples, the movements of birds, the lives of dogs, the touch of skin. Music. Dancing to music. Shooting baskets...enjoying our oatmeal again, with raisins, chopped apricots and honey from bees that grazed in meadows of clover."
He speaks of going out into the small towns and the countryside where you can, "...walk around and get leaf smoke up the nostrils that could pretty well clear the head." With such a poetic heart and a love of nature, is it any wonder why Ken Burns chose Keillor to voice Walt Whitman in "The Civil War"?

Mrs. Mosley and I sometimes speak of moving to a small town or perhaps getting a house on a stretch of land outside of a city. It's more seductive to me than you know. The pleasure of such quiet and beauty is something I could lose myself in for the rest of my days. If I lived in such a place, then I could possibly even stand with getting rid of the TV, as Keillor has done.

There are some obstacles to this daydream. One is that I think I would have to move out of Florida to somewhere colder to truly enjoy the outdoors. At the very least, I would need to be in a place bereft of swamps and overbearing humidity. Also, I haven't been able to obtain the motivation to pull up the weeds in my yard, so the concept of me tending an acre or two is dubious. Still, under different circumstances, I would like to think it's possible.

I have no doubt that there will still be films and politics in my life, but room can be made for this one thing that can offer such serenity. The best things in life are indeed free. More importantly, they're damn near necessary for a clear mind and a healthy heart.

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