Out in Lloyd
No big punk shows this weekend, no keggers, no heavy-drinking house parties. Instead, I've once again been invited to dogsit at a 150-year-old cracker house out on Lloyd's main drag.
When I'm there, sipping a cold one, sitting on a glider on the wide porch in my cut-offs, I wonder how many more generations will be able to enjoy that feeling. How soon before there's a WalMart where the old railroad station now stands? How soon before Lloyd is just another Tallahassee suburb, SouthWood II (or III or IV), generic houses with generic yards and generic children who never see the sun?
But as evening comes on and the heat slowly lifts, all I can hear are train whistles, the burble of the neighbor's turkey and chickens, a far-off dog barking, mockingbirds taunting each other in the pear trees. I can walk through the yard and touch a massive, gnarled live oak that grew there through the days when the home I'm watching was a photo studio, a dental office, a house of ill repute, a temporary Civil War hospital ward, and simply a farm house. That tree may have shaded men who first laid the train tracks that made Lloyd a happening little place in the way back. Heck, it may have been there when the Spanish first made their deadly inroads into the state. And it's not the only giant in the neighborhood.
Spending a weekend in Lloyd heals me. Being around those trees helps me forget about all the live oaks in Tallahassee that have been slaughtered to make room for big box stores and crappy developed neighborhoods. Hearing the wind in the pines reminds me that North Florida should not, naturally, be stocked with palm trees like some Disney park. Feeling the heartwood boards beneath my feet connects me to the other people who fell in love with this area, lived here without air conditioning and ice makers, and still managed to keep from clearcutting the landscape.
We can live with nature, folks. The day the oaks of Lloyd become so much scrap hauled off from construction sites, I'm taking my books and my fishing pole, and I'm haulin' ass for Tate's Hell.