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.
The punks.

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.

6 Responses to Relief

  1. Maybe it’s your newfound sense of fitness and beer-lite living that makes the weather feel less oppressive. The fitter I am the less the heat bothers me. Although that turns around in the winter and the cold gets to me more easily.

  2. Beer lite? I think it’s more like beer absent. Juancho’s his own dry territory now, incorporated under the new non-smoking statute. I hear he’s thinking about giving up red meat, refrigeration, and oxygen. He still huffs gasoline, but only to protest the war.

    Great post. Every one of these Florida springs is an oasis. If it’s summer and you’re outside, there’s no better place to be.

  3. I see we’re all onto you, Juancho. It’s true that not waking up in a drunken and nicotine-induced stupor will take the hate out of you and let you appreciate what the land has to offer.

    I love Fanning Springs even if the algae-covered ramp scares me. So slippery. I cringe even thinking of the potential embarrassment.

  4. [terrible imitation of michael stipe – thick yorkshire accent included]

    Night swimming, deserves a quiet night. I’m not sure all these people understand….

    [/terrible imitation of michael stipe – thick yorkshire accent included]


    Fat Lad

  5. Sasquatch, you sound like you disapprove. Those last three sarcastic ones are not so great, but I can tell you that women love a focused and driven man, especially one who doesn’t smoke. Definitely a few more sexy points to the BRC since the beer-free fitness drive began.

    On that note, I had a beer last night! My third drink of the summer. It was sooooo good. I can hardly wait for the microbreweries of Colorado, although it’ll still be limited to a pint a night since my tolerance is currently non-existent.

  6. Disapprove of what? Vice? Sloth? Sanctimonionism? They are all on the hate list for sure.

    I’m a performance artist, that’s what all this cessation of behaviors is about- art. And i wonder if a “yorkshire accent” is anything like a Dixie County accent?