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Florida Keys Thanksgiving

Friday, 29 Nov 2002
written by Teresa

A trail in Norris Dam State Park, TN The sun reminded us of its existence this last weekend and we took advantage by exploring some of the local state parks. The woods smelt of leaf mould and fungus and the paths lay beneath a thick blanket of fallen leaves that begged to be kicked in flurries as we moved through. The light fell through the few remaining colours, casting shadows across the slopes - it was one of those perfect late autumn days.

Along one of the paths was a sign to "The Tea Room". In England this would be a perfectly normal sight but here in the States it is a rarely seen promise and deserved hot pursuit. Off we set through the woods to glimpse an inconspicuous building with those wonderful words painted on the sign over the door. The Tea Room in Norris Dam State Park, TN By this time I was just a touch excited but of course it was closed for the season, or so we thought until Sterling tried the door and it creaked open revealing it's secrets. The smell greeting the nostrils was of richly polished wood and save the lack of incense, we could have been in an old church. The sun streamed through a few of the windows holding microscopic dust particles tumbling in mid air and the atmosphere required us to talk in hushed tones. It was deserted, the people long gone and the chairs stacked neatly on the tables in the aftermath of nice cups of tea.

Something of late autumn led to a discussion about Thanksgiving and a quickly hatched plan to drive south like wild things in order to share the holiday with Eric and Jeanette. We drove through Georgia on Tuesday and into yet another autumn. Our first fall this year was in the Colorado mountains in early September and coming down in altitude and moving south east in longitude and latitude meant that we extended our experience of the season's colour for three full months. As we left the faded aftermath in Tennessee, we were delighted yet again by the full richness as we travelled down the Peach State and passed into the lush damp greenery of Florida. In the Keys, they're a weed! The air smells, feels and tastes moist. The palm fronds gently waft and sway in the breeze, the coconuts wait to drop and the bananas ripen in their clusters. The transition from the mainland onto the Keys is framed by aqua marine water crossed on bridges guarded by cormorants and brown pelicans. So here we are on the day commemorating the pilgrim's survival, sitting on the decking amidst lush vegetation, wishing the pool were just a few degrees warmer. Eric and Sterling have set about a number of the coconuts with a crowbar, Sterling has been on the roof of the camper in a quest for a hand of bananas and I've eaten the most wonderful dessert made of the fruits, rum and cream while the others have had pumpkin pie. No choice! Life's not bad and there's a lot to be thankful for this year.

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