Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day Two-Hundred-Forty-Two, Escape From Okeechobee

Twelve score and two, an awfully long time.  I should have been done in two hundred.  But I've dragged my feet; I've laid up here and there.  These numbers are embarrassing me.  I remember the night I typed "Day Twenty."  I was awfully proud of myself.  Twenty whole days in the wilderness.  As many as I had fingers and toes.

And one or two more than I have now.  Walking do wear down your feet.  But I have no doubt that they'll grow back, stronger than ever before.  If less beautiful.  Mountain climbers lose toes all the time.  And when the get home they brag about it.  I'll never wear sandals again.

Not without socks.  That is a privilege that comes to us all in old age.  But small compensation for the sad fact that you are now falling apart.  I'm not quite sure how I got on this track.  It's not at all what I wanted to say.  But it doesn't hurt to let your mind wander.  It may come up poetry.

I got my eight hours, or not too much less.  I did well without a TV.  Or without a remote.  It was too much trouble to lean over and turn it on.  The beauty of TV is that it's effortless.  It makes no demands of you.  It is ruined if you have to do calisthenics before you can have your mind numbed.

I flipped it on in the morning.  Save me.  I was up at seven o'clock.  And still I sat there until check-out time, comfortable on my bed.  There was a pool but I didn't swim.  It did not look wholly clean.  Nor did the shower but I had three of those, the first two to wash off the stink.  And the third just because I could.  Appreciate what comforts you have.

It's nice to be rinsed.  My hair is clean.  Or was; it didn't last long.  Back out in the humidity I got all sticky again.  On a two-mile hike to the laudromat, rather a high-class place.  There are RV'ers here, sophisticated, but without their own washing machines.  So they keep the place cleaner and charge a bit more.  Few good things in life are free.

I finished up there in an hour or two.  I still did not go anywhere.  I hung around town until four o'clock, contemplating my future.  For this reason or that I hadn't been fed, not for some thirty-six hours.  And it had me just a little light-headed.  It was hard to make plans.  I left town on a thirty-mile hike without enough food or water.

Main Street, I think it's called Parrot Road, runs south straight out of town.  And stops when it hits Lake Okeechobee.  There you go left or right.  I went left, that's east, and a mile in at last had the wits to eat.

At a saloon.  I did not catch the name.  I made friends with some old people.  I wish I could have sat and drank beer with them but it was fast getting dark.  So I ate much too much, much too fast, and bolted back out to the road.  I wasn't sure how far I would have to go before I found a place for my tent.

Lake Okeechobee.  I wish I could describe it.  It's not words that fail me here.  I've not seen it myself.  The whole thing is hemmed in by a thirty-foot dike.  Around that runs a canal.  Then a hundred-yard width of trailer parks.  Then the road that I'm on now.  Then more trailer parks and, luckily, a gas station/sandwich shop.

So I'll have food tomorrow if I don't eat it now.  I am a little peckish.  But it may be all I have to sustain me until I get to Canal Point.  And a lot more than I thought I'd get.  I really could have done with more planning.  I've managed to survive at least this long.  I'm too quick to think I always will.

I was still among trailer parks when it got dark.  I wondered where I would sleep.  But that problem always seems to solve itself.  I was not too much concerned.  And sure enough, I found a road leading into the tall tall grass.  Twelve feet tall.  Seriously.  And you think your lawn is bad.

It was like a tunnel, spooky enough.  God knows what's living in there.  I spotted a length of coiled up hose and stopped so fast I almost snapped my neck.  But it eventually opened up.  I found a path leading me into the thick of it.  To an open patch, a boar's nest no doubt, where I set up my tent.

I hope the pigs don't come to evict me.  There are too sportsmen at large.  Who drive monster trucks with a flying bridge, designed just for killing hogs.  They've got a platform twelve feet off the ground.  They go deep into the grass.  And sit up there drinking beer until a pig happens by.  Then they shoot it dead.  My yellow tent makes me invisible back here.  That might be my bad luck.

Happy dreams.

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.4

No comments:

Post a Comment