In the fog, all things are uncertain and precarious. Forms lose their edginess, while people gain it. In our efforts to extract meaningful images from a white-on-white canvas, we strain our eyes and whiten our knuckles if we’re sitting behind a wheel, and if we’re on foot, our imaginations can misconstrue a hellscape as safe passage and a clear pathway as brambles. I was feeling alert, alive and present on the morning of March 1, at 6:00 AM, as I drove warily through the dense fog blanketing Okeechobee County well before the sun could burn its way through. The interior of Florida is notorious for dangerous highways that slice across the state from the west coast to the east at regular intervals up and down the American mega-peninsula. I had nearly completed the turn-off from one of those highways when disaster struck. A nano-second of horn blare, screeching tires and the crashing sounds of metal and glass reconstructing each other, and then I was spinning. I became a moving part on the inside of a much larger moving part (the Honda Accord). A three-quarter turn and then a complete stop. Car still running, lights still slashing at the fog, I unbuckled and disembarked. The dazed walk I took to the other side of the vehicle gave me all the visual information I needed to conclude that my road trip was over, at least for today. After hurling a couple of profanities at the passive whiteness, I came to my senses and walked away from the crippled hulk. My next thought was for the occupant(s) of the other vehicle. With prayers and fears overflowing, I approached the driver’s door. And that was when extreme gratitude made its reappearance on the scene. One occupant, and although she wasn’t speaking, I could see that she wasn’t critically injured or unconscious. Cars are disposable, people are not.
Two days earlier, on Monday afternoon, I left Savannah for the second time during the month of February. I had decided days before to consider the first trip a trial run; a learning experience for the real “Cross Country Expedition to Gather Film Content”. I’d also decided to scale back the distance covered. Instead of driving from Mile Marker 0 on Key West to the farthest reaches of Alaska, I opted for the farthest northwest point in the contiguous USA, which is Cape Flattery, WA. By the time I finished sorting through and selectively packing everything I could think of for the trip and recording the following video, it was already past 2:00 PM. I drove away from storage locker 88 and headed south.
I left the storage locker and Savannah late in the day. I couldn’t imagine hurrying toward Sanford, Florida and the American Bronze Foundry because that was 5 hours away and would be closed by the time I arrived. I decided to head south and take an easterly detour to the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a coastal preserve and it is where I had previously filmed a few scenes for “Return to Hope”. I was not disappointed by my intuitive side trip. It was wonderful afternoon weatherwise, and the refuge was nearly deserted. I ate dinner by the water as the sun set and then I set forth. Spirit untethered.
By the time I hit the onramp for I-95 South it was getting dark. I drove for a couple of hours before turning in to a rest stop for a dinner out-of-the-trunk and a pre-bedtime brush and splash out-of-the-sink. As uncomfortable as the passenger seat was for sleeping, I was feeling extraordinarily blessed by the freedom to make my own choices and set my own pace. In the morning, I drove off as the sun was revealed by a horizon in perpetual motion. Next stop, American Bronze Foundry in Sanford, Florida. But along the way, off of historic Route1, I followed signs to a town named Lincolnville. That is where I captured the last good photo of my home away from no-home, the cranberry Honda I choose to call Accord.
After a short meeting with Charlie (Charles Wambold III) to drop off the model and discuss a bare-bones version of my hopes and dreams concerning the “Grand Providentia Projection”, I drove off in the direction of Key West. Timing is everything when you are preparing to drive through Miami, so I fully expected to stop and sleep again before getting to the keys. Another sidetrack to Mullet Lake Park in Seminole County and then I would dine, and squirm through the night in the cramped bucket seat of Accord.
I didn’t see any mullets, in the water or on people’s heads, but I did enjoy a nice lunch by the water, while being entertained by an airboat pilot showing off his fancy fan skills.
I’ve never been skilled at predicting the future, even when the future is as close as the following morning, but if I had that skillset, I’m sure I would have lingered longer at the rest stop waiting for the fog to lift before resuming the drive south. In a single moment, all things can change. I love change, though, because it enhances our flexibility and expands our ability to accept the way things are in the now.
Return tomorrow for a report on where I’m at and where I’m planning to go from here. Thank you for reading this Grand Providentia United journal entry! Please feel free to stay awhile, scroll down, scroll back up, and read until you yawn. Good night, good people!