Thursday, May 9, 2013

Growing Accustomed

This Thursday marks one week that I’ve been in the Oak Hill house and not surprisingly a week of trial and error, discovery, realizations and not more than a couple of small disappointments that will no doubt mellow out in time. Inside, the rooms continue to be much of a jumble apart from the bedroom, the living room still in-progress and the guest room a heap of books, boxes and files I am reluctant to face. Of course, I’ve lost things that don’t turn up no matter how thoroughly I search, the arrangement of kitchen drawers and cabinets is not to my liking and fourteen paintings still wait to be hung, their places on the walls not yet clear in my mind. Apart from cooking, showering, sleeping and watching television on some evenings, most of my hours are spent either on the back porch or sitting in the yard.

The biggest and most pleasant surprise has been the screened back porch where I am happy to sit for hours reading or watching the cardinals—three families at least—and the often mischievous squirrels, all of them no more than ten feet from my chair. Imagine a cool shaded spot free of mosquitoes and other bothersome insects offering a panorama of two dozen oak trees hung with Spanish moss, and now a regular setting for lunch each day. Later in the afternoon I prefer sitting out in the yard to better enjoy the play of light filtering through trees all around me. Don’t think I have ever fully appreciated the countless facets and voices of the passing day in a rural setting. 

One of the problems, and it isn’t really, is the nasty smell and taste of the well water. It comes out slightly greenish brown reeking of iron but smelling like first cousin to a fart. Undrinkable to me, though I suppose some do eventually get used to it. I rely completely on bottled water and bags of ice from the store. Brushing my teeth with the well water is bearable, but only just. Somehow, showering in the water doesn’t bother me at all. The shower is much better than the one I used for so long at the beach and being from a well in my yard, the water is free. Something to get accustomed to.

My iPhone won’t work in the house, so I either miss calls or run outside when it rings. Looks like the only alternative is to change providers, not something I want to do, but Sprint has no solution. It wouldn’t be all that bad switching to AT&T if it weren’t for the need of buying a new AT&T compatible iPhone. They tell me the architecture is different on a Sprint iPhone and an AT&T iPhone. Sounds like a good deal for Apple, forcing customers to buy a new iPhone when a problem arises with the provider.

My neighbor gave me a treadmill the other day, one in perfect working order that he didn’t want any longer and was taking to Good Will until I showed interest. Living at the beach I walked almost daily and since coming to the country have wondered how to manage the same walking exercise. Somehow, walking on a dusty dirt road in the hot sun, doesn’t sound like a fair tradeoff for a walk on the beach. For the past two days I have used the treadmill set up on the back porch and it’s a good substitute. While walking I look out at the redbirds flitting about, some of them coming to within arm’s reach of the screen. Only thing missing is the suntan.

The male…                           and the female

I tell myself it is time to establish a routine of sorts for this new life where quiet is all pervading and where it is easy to be lulled into comfortable torpor. At least three writing projects lay waiting for my return and I know this is something where momentum is vital. One day soon I will have to turn away from the verdant wanderings that now hold me in thrall and get back to scribbling.


  1. It sounds like you are settling in nicely. With the lanquid pace of country life, eventually pictures will get hung and all the boxes unpacked and the items put in their proper place. That your writing can be done on the screened porch with animals at play beyond your fingertips would seem to be ideal for thoughtful composition. Relax, have a cocktail, and be creative.

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America