Monday, August 1, 2011


Right now I find myself enjoying a quiet evening in the garden behind the house I am staying in in Alabama. It is very beautiful here, especially now after it has been raining all afternoon. I can hear birds twittering away in the trees. And Oh! the trees! They do transport me back in time, imposing upon me their ancient timelessness as they stand in the woods. I may sound like a poetic sap, but when I am standing, surrounded in greenery and the skittering of animals underfoot, the gentle humming of insects seeking to drain my body of blood, the soft wind rustling the leaves and erasing the gentle and distant murmur of traffic, I feel as if I have stepped back in time to a place where clocks have no meaning and life is eternal and ever present.
I have noticed that Alabama can only be seen in small sections. The trees themselves act as a barrier that hide the world. I am not accustomed to so much green! I live in the desert of Arizona, I can stand on my roof and on a clear day see most of the state. From the mountain tops that surround the valley of the sun, as Phoenix is so affectionately named, my eyes travel the distance of many miles in a single glance, seeing the entirety of the valley. But here, on the wooded land of Alabama within the humid American south, beauty can only be appreciated one tree at a time. The roads curve gently through the land, unfolding the sights to be seen a few feet at a time. Entire cities are hidden by a curve in the road, and equally erased by another.
The sun is setting, and the lightning bugs are emerging. Small floating stars float among the green landscape. When the sun sets, an entire molten universe will appear in the trees. The flashing disarray that is the dance of the lightning bugs is fascinating to behold, each one illuminated for only a second, but replaced by scores more. The night sky may be covered by the green ceiling of the leaves, but there are more stars fluttering about the foliage that make up for the lack of sky. Most of the bugs here are fascinating in their own right. I have seen beautiful butterflies that land and fold their wings only to look like a splinter of wood. I have seen stick bugs, and ants the size of cashews. There have been grasshoppers that are shaped like leaves, and spiders of every shape and size. Some spiders look like little floating balls suspended by eight long spindly stilts, others walk on the surface of water, skittering about as if on dry land. I have seen winged ants, bright blue bugs, lady bugs with more spots than red, ticks, and giant beetles.
There are so many animals as well, deer, hawks, egrets, great horned owls, cardinals, snakes, and the cutest little toads that are the size of the tip of my thumb.
Alabama has been such a beautiful experience for me, being surrounded by so much beauty is mesmerizing. Audrey, the wonderful woman who I am living with (along with her husband Mike and three dogs Mario, Louie, and Molly) , has taken me on hikes to see caves, waterfalls, rivers, wildlife, and stone quarries. The house here is lovely, situated on a hill that looks out over a beautiful lake, they have boats, a tree house, a barn, a trail that goes up the mountain, and a basement with the most comfortable couch in the world. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here in America's South, and I am sad that I will be leaving it in two days. Although, it will be nice to escape the bites of mosquitoes and no-see-ums.

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