Homebound Journal

Homebound Journal

A Story by Beau Maysey

Wrote this on the way back to Florida from the edge of SC

Grey sky swathes the Georgia state in a pervasive sense of melancholy, and we are just one car adrift in a concrete river sweeping past bare trees and signposts.

Winter always had that quiet effect of sapping all the energy out of the landscape, draining away color and brightness to leave a thin hull of a season.

You have to focus on the fleeting interesting exhibits that zip past to stay interested: that radio tower looks suspended by a shattered abacus; a palmetto peeks through creeper vines like a secret border-hopper; a wreath propped on a ranch entrance, the last hoorah of a fading christmastime.

A simple metal fence separates the road from the 'No Hunting' acres, and, in trying to reclaim what's been lost, braids of branches and moss sag the wires, and in certain places, twist in nearly all the way down. Nature is not an agent under our restrictions, but evades all messages of closure as it tends to do.

Our car runs on electricity and gasoline, but we're fueled by alternative rock and the tug of home. Such a pull allows us to escape the whims of each roadside advertisement ploy, announcing the excitement of one franchise after another. Then again, perhaps its the insipid nature of the open highway itself that leads to a tuning out of distractions and turns us into half-smiling automatons.

Consider the sheer amount of force taken to bulldoze a path through a state. Consider the sunshine state with a blanketed sun. Consider cheap, weathered billboards for Disney attractions. Consider stopping in Tallahassee for a bathroom break. Consider Florida.

Vehicles are their own bottled versions of houses, with just as much expectation for privacy, with half the feasibility of doing so.

There's a lone ladder face down on the culvert, some remnant of an existential crisis or an unfortunate casualty of an open truckbed. It serves now as some strange landmarker, or to the more artistically-inspired, as an accidental installation art piece. Sacrifices made for art.

Telephone lines sweep off, perpendicular to the interstate, into the distance. It's curious how much of our run-of-mill conversation depends on these metal giants functioning in an impressive conduit running miles through cleared wildlife. What used to be nature communicating with itself is now a subset of it monopolizing space for vast-distance calls. Funny, what we've sacrificed for the convenience of a network.

The city of Jacksonville climbs into view, meaning we've at last reached familiar ground, and despite myself there's a sense of relief to return to that panhandle, the one we all laugh we'll leave behind for good one day. Conversation squirts out again, inspired by the return of the metropolis. Were we uncomfortable with the simplicity of a rural sprawl? Spoiled by the eye candy of the commercial districts? As median streetlights state upon us, stern judges, we reenter the jungle of suburbia.

Adjacent '7 Up' and 'Pepsi' factories stare each other down from opposite sides of the road like old rivals. An overpass has the words 'Jesus Loves' splotched on it, a silent specter. Signs continuously point the route to Daytona Beach. Everything in its place.

The sun inches out of its shroud, reinvigorating color into the monochromic setting. Winter may halt the flow of vibrancy, but Florida halts the motion of winter.

Even as brightness reapportions itself into a cloudy day, the journey continues into it's final hours. When mile markers turn into a countdown clock, hope is mingled with desperation- Seatbelts are readjusted, windows tapped, snacks dispersed to quiet nervousness. The parade of pines like cell bars reminds one of the confine of a single seat, packed in by luggage and bags. Collect dust on the door lock and tick the seconds until claustrophobia.

Mom notes the proximity to the hometown stretch and makes casual talk concerning current events- A neglected transgender killed herself and left a note calling to doubt her parents' labeling and calling upon the world to change. One misjudged, lopsided step at a time, we all carve our ways through the forest.

'Exit Now
The Nuthouse'
It shouldn't speak for itself, yet it does.

Wine-hued weeds send tendrils wrapping around brush and slithering up trees, invading a picturesque view as a purple mist. And other aspects of Florida bleed back into the picture- Side-streets parallel to the highway, palm trees bobbing around car lots...

Being a vegetarian family means:
The most usage we get out of McDonalds is for pit stop bathroom rushes.

The Sun can go from a blessing to a curse- it all depends on orientation. In one moment, beautiful golden flecks and white tube-like illusions upon the window. In the next, it assaults through the cover of trees, sending strong pulses radiating through the car, creating a seizure of yellow and red. It becomes a process of actively dodging the sun, and when it leaps back to the front windshield for a surprise attack, swatting at it with visors.

In a cold-wrecked field, still-standing trees resemble eyeliner brushes and spindly matchsticks, shooting up to find refuge in the kingdom of the sky, but stuck fast by their own rooted safety. The sun smiles, unwavering, and we drive on past Daytona.

There's only so many apps you can circle through before it all melts into a vat of idleness and boredom, stirred by your own want of mental creativity and physical freedom. A car is a physical hell for the restless, and yet a convenience for the wonderlustful. We humans- We're all about inventions that assist as they debilitate.

As the sun prepares to explode in it's nuclear downfall, opening over Orlando to unveil tones of melon and lavender, the trip rounds into its final hours- Cramps, bladders, the rumbling car, minds can all be unloaded soon, like the sun. A peach-toned license plate on the passing car is a requiem for the mileage we've covered today.

We run into a small snafu, a small traffic slowdown around Lakeland, but I'm content, with the jam set against a sunset coercing the daytime away. The long line of red lights is actually more comforting than frustrating, a guide back to the bay.

Nightfall: St. Petersburg, accept us without question, without judgement. We've travelled far, and we wish safe passage. Every Odysseus needs their homestead, once the magic of adventure reaches a close. A tale without an ending is doomed, a tragedy of eternity no matter how its sliced, so give us shelter, give us peace.

We've at last made it home.

© 2015 Beau Maysey

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Added on January 6, 2015
Last Updated on January 6, 2015


Beau Maysey
Beau Maysey

St. Pete, FL

Hey, I'm Beau, and these little autobiography section always irked me yet I understand their function and significance. I live in St. Pete, go to college at Eckerd College, study creative writing as a.. more..