Explore where you are. That’s my new mantra. I found myself in an unlikely, but highly enjoyable conversation the other day, and the topic turned to air boats. As they do in North Central Florida. The other guy was finishing up a long workday but later, he told me, he was taking his newest toy out - an air boat. (I was thinking about putting shoe trees in my favorite wingtips and powering up the Kindle.) Maybe you’ve seen an air boat, or, more likely, you’ve heard one. They are thunderous. I’m a notorious noise hater so an air boat ride, in the swamps, in the dark, has never really appealed to me. But you should have seen his eyes light up as he described the scene to me. He heads out at dusk and he’ll be out there until 1 or 2 in the morning. The waterways he sees are home to scores of “critters” and they all come out at night to play and eat and explore. The raccoons mess with the crab traps when the tide goes out. Deer dance through the shallows. Of course, there are scores of alligators. He’ll fish or throw some nets or drop anchor and do some scalloping or he’ll harvest the jagged oyster beds. I couldn’t help but be a little envious. Here he is, exploring my backyard in ways that have never dawned on me. My experience with air boats is limited to the times they appear in a Carl Hiaasen novel. This guy gets to see things I’ve never seen and do things I’ve never done - all within 20 minutes of my home. Doesn’t seem fair. Makes me wonder how well I really know my own place on the globe. I drive the same roads to work and I run errands to all the usual places. But my Florida, if stitched together, is probably 10 square miles of roads, air-conditioned buildings, and traffic lights. I think I need to fix this. Who’s coming?
I do have some nuggets for you from my own more virtual explorations this week: