This is Fanning Springs, a tiny state park that sits off U.S. 19 on the Suwanee River. For years and years I have stopped here for a little road relief on the way to and from my homelands south of Tallahassee. The water is chilly cold in the summer and mild in the winter thanks to the constant temperature of the spring. Whatever the weather, I take it as a point of pride to jump in no matter the time of year.
I rarely spend more than five minutes here, as I am usually in a hurry to get wherever I’m going. There used to be no gate or ranger station, and I have great memories of sliding into the parking lot after dark and taking a dive with the place to myself. Those days are gone, but I’m not complaining, it is still a classic Florida treasure. It is usually full of people. A particular Dixie County crowd reminiscent of a Flea Market, or a Wal-mart grand opening roams the property. Certain characters are always represented.
The 17 year old with the bad tattoo and the southern accent that sounds like air being squeezed from a balloon- he can always do back flips, gainers, one and a halfs off the platform. These are skills for which I would gladly trade my Master’s degree. The performance is always the same: last check to see that the girls are watching, flick of cigarette butt, then- olympic style dive.
Out of place tourists dog paddling in fear of alligators and the screaming, Dorito eating locals.
Cluster of local black kids having a fabulous time in an unmarked, but particular corner of the spring. Integration happening politely, but solely at the diving platform.
Suspicious looking guy with the beard and the Bassmaster 3000 sunglasses, lurking in the water by himself. Hey! That’s me!
Reading back through last summer’s entries I was insane from the heat and unable to do anything but obsess about how awful summer was. It’s still hot, but the hate just isn’t in me this time. I must have the hate laser focused elsewhere right now. It is a single targeting contempt guided system, and the heat is getting a pass.
I am home on the Avenue (10th avenue Yo!) and the rain is coming down in a thick fine mist, if you can believe that. I’m going to hamster around and appreciate what I’ve got for the rest of the morning.
I suggest you do the same.