The Long Way Home


The Real Florida
July 27, 2010, 10:16 PM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , ,

Central Florida claims to be “The Real Florida.” Which makes me wonder which Florida is the imposter?

We spent most of our time in Ocala, where my in-laws live in a gated retirement community. It was difficult to explain to them my obsession with photographing the symmetry of their neighborhood, all the driveways and mailboxes lined up in pristine rows. Tiny sprinklers watering the lawns like clockwork each morning, the humidity stifling before the sun rose.

airplane

 

And when we needed a break, we headed to Cross Creek, possibly the “real Florida” – whatever it means to have a place be the definitive icon of an entire state – where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings escaped to write The Yearling. I try to find something good about every place  I visit, even if it’s not a place I would have chosen on my own; sometimes “it is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind.” And forget about the mosquitoes and Disney World and all the strip malls dotting the highways that got us there.

suburban road

cross creek road

what she found there

dinner bell. photo by jeff.

storm over cross creek

ocala

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17 Comments so far
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WHAT DID SHE FIND??? come on, I’m hangin’ here…love these photos, (like someone else said) esp. the symmetry and some of them remind me of loneliness

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Comment by Becky

I think of this place as kind of lonely too, especially when you rarely see anyone coming out of the house. Unlike our trip to Boston this past weekend – more on that soon!

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Comment by Lisa

SO GOOD. That neighborhood is so neat to look at! Great stuff.

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Comment by Eric

oh me, oh my. it is really very very clean and symmetrical- opposite of berlin i suppose… 😉

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Comment by Darja

I didn’t even consider the cleanliness aspect, but you’re right – it’s immaculate. You could eat off the pavement in this place!

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Comment by Lisa

I really enjoy Ocala, though I usually stay in the ranch areas when I’m there. These pictures are great and I absolutely love the symmetry. Thanks.

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Comment by Mr. Google

I was so surprised to see how much Ocala doesn’t look like Florida – my husband says it reminds him of Kentucky. Thanks for the comments, they’re nice to hear!

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Comment by Lisa

The Ocala photo looks like a bunch of people dressed alike would soon pop out the doors and mow their lawns in unison.

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Comment by jeff

You need to paint this!

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Comment by Lisa

You capture something in your photos that not only transport me there, but also to another time. Your pictures and writing remind me that a simple life is out there and a better choice. Thanks so much for sharing.

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Comment by Michele Cremeans

Your words made my entire morning! It’s the best thing I could hear when I see my work reaching out to people – hugs!

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Comment by Lisa

Real Florida is wherever these types of houses aren’t. So, let’s see, the Everglades, Ocala National Forest, St. John’s River, Suwannee River, the upper Panhandle. Ya’ll made an excellent choice in getting our of “real Florida” to see the Real Florida.

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Comment by Suwannee Refugee

BTW-The Yearling in Cross Creek is a great place to eat.

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Comment by Suwannee Refugee

-and your blog looks awesome. definitely a great reference for our trip next year!

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Comment by Lisa

Thank you for reading! I see I’ve found a true Floridian!
I really wanted to eat at The Yearling, but it was closed that day (Wednesday). I really love the drive along Route 301 – we found a lot of interesting towns along the way. And Micanopy is beautiful. Every time we go down to Ocala, we go there.

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Comment by Lisa

whenever I see photos like these with the identical houses and mailboxes, I think of that scene in A Wrinkle in Time when they are on that strange planet and at precisely the same time a little boy comes out of every house and bounces an identical ball. I don’t know if there was a film version but the scene is indelible in my mind from the book.

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Comment by Sheryl

That would be amazing to film, if it hasn’t been done already! My in-laws neighborhood (I wish I could remember the name of it – something with Oak in it?) reminds me of the one in “Edward Scissorhands.”

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Comment by Lisa




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