Beyond the Commonplace, Week 1, 2014

floridabuzzard I grew up in an arid landscape, so the weeping, willowy flora and fauna of Florida baffles me. Can a landscape evoke sentiments of confusion? Perhaps it is the patches of contrasts or the suddenness of density. Driving mountain roads in Virginia seems similar, where the visibility is a mere 500 feet due to the teeming woods. Florida sweeps from open expanses of nothingness to (suddenly) cloisters of greenery crowding waterways. The swamp seeps from below and above. "A few things for themselves ... convolvulus and coral ... buzzards and live-moss." (Wallace Stevens) Florida is a haunting, mysterious, and strange beauty.

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Those lumps in the water are manatees: I know virtually nothing about them except that man remains their most significant threat. The beat poet Anne Waldman wrote "the manatee has no natural enemies but unnatural man".

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