The Long Way Home

Strange Vacation
April 21, 2015, 6:50 AM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , , ,
Florida livin'.

Florida livin’

It is mind-numbing and surreal, driving 16 hours from home. We take one suitcase, one bag of cameras and film, a snack-filled cooler. We make a playlist (mostly Steely Dan this time, which Jeff calls his “prescription from Dr. Wu”). We play road games, the alphabet one being a favorite (“Name a band that starts with _”). There is lots of excitement in the beginning of the  drive – adventure awaits! – then time rolls on, and we’re hungry. Tired, cranky, we bicker over directions. There are breaks at scenic highway overlooks and creepy little mom-and-pops selling crushed Twinkies. State by state we shed layers of clothing to accommodate the heat. We are confused, we are lost, we laugh at the dumbest things. When we reach Ocala, I roll down the window and cup my hand to feel the outside humidity. It’s one of the few places where I’ve watched it rain on only one side of the road – dark clouds competing with the sun.

the rain divide


June 21, 2011, 7:18 PM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , ,


When Jeff and I first married, I had  the solitude talk with him: I must have  “Lisa time” now and then, don’t take it personally. And the best Lisa time are the mornings. There is an entire day in front of me filled with possibilities. There are errands to do, or better yet – not do. Which is why waking up early on vacation is even better. On our first day in Florida, I woke around seven. I don’t drink coffee or eat breakfast, I just start doing things because I may have dreamed about them – writing emails to friends, reading cookbooks, jotting down lines to stories. But that morning I took pictures around my in-laws house, chasing light from room to room. The gated community where they live is like a set from a film; even though I’ve visited many times now, I can’t recall ever seeing people outside. Which is why I felt pretty safe walking the streets in my pajamas, snapping photos of palm trees and dodging sprinklers before the family woke up and wondered where I had gone.





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.



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


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