I made a reservation yesterday, in the midst of my addled brain desk-warming. I was working on dystopian Tokyo but it was grueling work as my brain had gone numb from sitting still for too long. There is a text I wrote to my co-parent: Hey, what is that place where you put shit in Zelda? (I am writing about a video game in my story and, for those of you who do not know this, I do not play video games. Or, according to my kids, cannot play video games. Just not in my skill set.) He replied: His pocket? though the answer, folks, is inventory. I remembered it as I peddled home. Inventory.
Anyway, what I did remember mid-afternoon, two hours before I was released back into the wild, was that I am going to Florida at the end of July. I had really forgotten about that, what with the whole quarantine thing. I suppose I should say hopefully I am going to Florida at the end of July. Either way, I made a reservation to set up my tent for one night at the state park in my hometown, on the beach side so I can watch the sunrise over the Atlantic at least once during my time there. Yes, I realize this means I am completely mad as I just signed up to camp, in the woods, in Florida, on a summer night. But if worse comes to worse, I will just go out to the beach for the night where the mosquitoes and coyotes and ticks and snakes and alligators can’t get me. Sure, the rapists will find me easy pickings but hey, it’s Florida. Pick your poison, right?
I am going back to my hometown to look through the archives and interview some people regarding the history of witches, voodoo, hoodoo, spiritualists, the occult, what have you, in the area. Of course, there won’t be enough time this trip for everything but I know this book will take me a while. There is just so much there, so many layers. This morning I came across the name Felipa the Witch in a list of Spanish land grants which is how, after a few twists and turns, I found myself listening to Gullah Geechee singers and reading this very long and cringe-inducing treatise by Zephaniah Kingsley.
It will be strange visiting my hometown, that is a given. I have lived most of my life away from that place and my parents don’t even live there anymore. And yet it will always be my hometown, the place I am from. It is such a strange, awkward place and I am equally strange and awkward when I am there. But the beach is beautiful. White sugar sands, broken shells crunching under bare feet, low, gentle waves lapping up against the shore. And I will sleep near the jetty, my favorite part of the island, where the river gives way to the ocean. My friend told me to go to Cumberland instead, to avoid the mess that is Fernandina and yet I am not into avoiding things. Not anymore. Besides, it is just one night. If I do it right, I will go there, rent a bike, set up my tent, peddle around town, sleep in the woods, wake up for the sunrise, swim a bit, then go to the archives so I can look at things that are not digitized yet. In and out with no social interactions, no reunions; I will be nothing but a stranger passing through with too many strange questions.