Walking the Line

The fecund black earth smells like creation itself. A recent drought allowed a temporarily walkable crust to develop in this wet head where we have not been since before Hurricane Ivan trashed Pensacola in September, 2004.

The ebony surface is shiny, like licorice, and will turn into slippery muck after the next rain.

These low, damp places are connected via pathways of choking pale gray dust that swirl upward with each footfall on the newly plowed fire line. 

We walk westerly for a time, and the brilliant late afternoon autumn sun slants into the dark woods like windshield glare. I want to look all around, but am forced to avert my eyes . I dodge thorny vines hanging down from branches and punji stick roots sticking up where Victor, the forestry guy, has busted them into springy pieces with his fire line plow.

I crack an aromatic bay tree leaf under my nose and inhale: victory in the games, the hope of immortality or at least a sentient recycling.



10 thoughts on “Walking the Line

  1. Even though I’ve never set foot on the Preserve, after reading your descriptions of your walks over the years I feel I know it as well as my own backyard. Thanks for sharing your world through words crafted as only Beth can.


  2. What an evocative post! It’s an odd feeling to walk where the water usually covers that primeval mud. I like the pathways you revealed with the simple act of smelling the bay leaf. Oh, and the punji sticks take me back to a vivid childhood memory, one I’ve wanted to write about for a long time now.


  3. Amy Kane and I walked on my mountain this weekend and talked about you. Were your ears burning?
    We talked about wanting to meet you and then I said, “I wanna eat one of her meals.”
    Cuz I always leave your blog hungry;)


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