by the docks on Indian River.
it is the same jingle of the water among the roots under the
banks of the palmettoes,
it is the same jingle of the red-bird breasting the orange-
trees out of the cedars.
yet there is no spring in Florida, neither in boskage perdu,
nor on the nunnery beaches.
Autumn is the Spring here, down at the bottom end of the Indian River, where the long lagoon becomes the Jupiter Narrows right behind my house. It used to be impassible to anything bigger than a skiff until the Government dredged it so that the steamboats could travel further south than Peck's lake where I often anchor my boat to enjoy the solitude.
The Autumn is the season of rebirth, not from the stark, cold death of bleak, white Winter, but the crawling death, the Silurian wet death and ferment of endless insect and reptile life; the rot and crawling mildew that turns my paving stones black and stains the sides of my house green and you can smell the rank mud at low tide - just there behind those white mangroves in the corner of the lot. On steaming, foetid summer nights, that still eternal boskage rings with frog voices and palm leaf clack and insect rattle and snakes and owls hunt in the night heat and the quiet bobcat's padded feet pass by unnoticed until you hear some rabbit scream.
Autumn and Spring; the only difference is the anticipation of the next phase, dreaming about cool nights and opened windows and dry ground, the two or three winter nights when you can wear that old leather jacket or the sweet, sad smell of April jasmine prophesying June's thick and breathless heat.
Autumn is for planting vegetables if you don't want them to burn and wither or rot at the roots from the rain soak and the ravage of Summer insect hunger; for watching the oranges and bananas turn color as the brief Winter approaches with it's red-burned tourists on beaches picking up shells: the seasonal retirees in white socks and sandals eating at Appleby's and driving slowly home at dusk in black sedans with license plates on front bumpers, braking for green lights. It's a renewal for those without many more cycles of renewal left in them.
Autumn, when Africa grows tired of launching storms into the Atlantic, when evening dinners on the patio need candle light in the early dark and swimming pools glow turquoise and cool. We feel born again into the outside world and the mild November air is sweet in the lungs and the night sounds change and the stars grow clearer as the great, dark numinous night embraces you to her wild bosom with her fragrant arms.