Thursday, November 24, 2005

Back to the beach! Beach? What beach?
Getting back to the time long ago and how it relates to Minorcan Culture. That time is actually very interesting because the geologic triumvirate at that time mirrors the cultural reality of today. At that critical time when the Appalachian uplift came to a halt, the Mediterranean, North America and Africa (which gave birth to Florida) had all come together, smashed into a heap that only needed to wait for the evolution of humans to complete our cultural story. Somewhere about 220 million ybp, these geologic components began to drift apart.The part that would become the Mediterranean Sea began to move away with most of Africa. In the wake of this separation, the infant Atlantic ocean begin to form and fill with water. As fishermen, this would prove to be critically important to Minorcan Culture. Besides, we needed to migrate to Florida in 1768 by boat and that required an ocean to sail on. Details, details. A defiant piece of Africa, refused to leave, breaking off and adhering to North America, someday to be named Florida. And last, but not least, the magnificent Appalachian Mountains began to feel the wrath of time and what is certainly the earthly element closest to a Minorcan's heart...water (I know, I know, its a polar compound, whatever,its elemental to our culture). Slowly, massive chunks of granitic rock lost its grip and collapsed on a journey down miles of mountain side one tumble at a time. These ragged slides would have splintered into boulders that would continue there journey toward the new and morphing Atlantic Ocean. Worn by wind and water, these boulders surrendered their bulk to become stones and pebbles, washed by snowmelt and rain along creekbeds, ever toward the sea. At each stage, they were a victim to attrition of size until finally, they completed their journey and arrived at the ocean edge as sand grains. One by one, each grain of sand accumulated, flowing from the modern Carolina coastline southward in the longshore currents,to Florida to become a part of our river of sand, the beach! And, hey, what's a Minorcan without a beach? LOST! Toldya' it was related.

A (short) view from the Crack Shack
Happy Thanksgiving! Just so you will know, the first Thanksgiving among European cultures in what's now the US happened here in St. Augustine Florida in 1565, many decades before the celebration at Plimoth. Sorry, but it is a historical fact. The first Thanksgiving meal was probably more mullet and oysters, and hard Spanish barrel biscuits and than turkey. It's a day to celebrate family, no matter what its origin. It's our best holiday, and the most overlooked. I was going to boycott any business that decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving, but quickly realized that I would starve to death. Next year, I proclaim a campaign!

Monday, November 07, 2005

A view from the Crackshack
I can never understand why someone would waste a perfectly good, hard earned hangover by sleeping through it till noon or 8 am the next morning. I love my early mornings, no matter how painful they may end up. For example, last Saturday morning I got up a bit before the clucks, and stumbled into the kitchen in coffee making mode. The sun was still well under the covers, but the quiet was beautiful, broken only the tail wrapped whining of a hungry cat (that would be Yardley). The morning really didn't start too well, since I needed to grind fresh coffee and this wasn't a part of the fog I had blundered awake to. But what da' heck, its a simple process and soon the darkness was broken by the hiss and gurgle of fresh brew. By the time light leaked over the tree line and across the river into my backyard, the cardinals were in full bitch and the cluckettes were stretching their wings while the Little Buck Cluck crowed revelry. I settled into my first cup of coffee and started to piddle with fresh strawberry pancake makins', between long gazes in the direction of the pear tree where my feeding station is located. Affectionately known as the "cat feeder", it is undeservedly maligned. It mainly feeds their imagination I've seen Yardley chase a 60 lb. Shepard from the yard and run from a squirrel. Anyway, enough light leaked through the treeshadows for daybreak to be declared, the pancakes were done and the third cup of coffee was leaving a tideline in my cup. A covey of doves filtered to the ground, one by one, like falling leaves and started to pick through the manmade mast.While my attention was focused on Maple syrup, sausage and pancakes, I heard a collective shwirl of wings and Bluejay alarms. I looked up just in time to see a Coopers or Sharpshinned hawk swoop into the fray. I saw the momentary ground stop, wings and tail spread like an umbrella and then gone. Quiet. A death-like quiet, like no other. I didn't see a hit, and assummed the hunter had expended a lot of energy for nothing. I finished my pancakes, sunk the dishes in soapy water and went outside to open the shed and replenish the 'cat feeder'. As I walked past the pear tree, I saw the unmistakable sign of natural balance. There on the ground, where the wings of the hawk has fanned, was a puff of soft grey feathers. There was now room for one more Eurasian ring necked dove at the cat feeder. Yardley never even noticed.
The MinorcanMadman