Friday, January 04, 2008

We're in Florida. Slept in Jacksonville last night, saw our first palm tree, and this morning, despite weather reports of abnormally low temperatures (below freezing), the sun is shining! We'll arrive in Fort Meyers later today for a month-long stay, though internet connections will be iffy. Ah, time for Starbucks. No great hardship there.

We'll be in our own two-bedroom apartment, have our own kitchen, and deep in snowbird country. In fact this will be the first time we'll be in an all-retirement community. Dan, the nice man from Minnesota who sublet his apartment to us, says lots of activities (2 swimming pools) will keep us busy. But for now, I'm looking forward to stretching out in an apartment, exploring Fort Meyers, and writing.

Last night we watched the returns from the Iowa caucuses. Each candidate thanked those who worked on the campaign most graciously and then spoke to the larger television audience. I was schocked to learn that Hilary Clinton used her stump speech. Though she modulated her voice beautifully to avoid appearing strident, the strength of her comments could be seen in professionalism. Obama, on the other hand, sketched out the issues underlying his campaign (emphasizing unity) and in such a moving fashion that I was reminded of a story about Clinton's staffers who said, "Don't tell Mama, I'm for Obama." Interesting days ahead.

We're early on the road this morning with only 420 miles to go before Fort Meyers. So I'll just close with this photo of a ritual Japanese drum, dated about 900 AD, that I took at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Anthropology. Doesn't that combination bird/fish remind you of other transformative symbols? I'm thinking of the mythical Quetzalcoatl, serpent/fish of Aztec fame, but also the overall design reminds me of the artwork of the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest. How was culture shared during pre-Columbian times? An article on Wikipedia traces recent theories on models of migration to the Americas and is an interesting read.

Make it a good week, and I'll hope for internet connections soon.

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