Ocklawaha River. December 10, 2009
It was cold this morning, even for December. I was standing on the bank of Ocklawaha River listening to the waking reveille dominated by the piercing chips of a cardinal hidden in a nearby wax myrtle thicket. High overhead, a gang of honking crows worked the rafters of the forest cathedral.
A veil of mist drifted off the water and curled around my ankles as I knelt down and dipped my hand into the water. Slowly and with unintended reverence, I lifted my cupped hand to my nose and took a deep whiff. In that instant, I was transported back to a night thirty years earlier, when I crossed Santa Fe River on the I-75 Bridge in the bed of an old pickup truck. It was my last ride of a three year hitchhiking odyssey, a quest of sorts, on which I had hoped to find my place in the world. In that moment, thanks to a breath of musty river air, I knew that place had been here all along.