I drive home 45 miles an hour from St. Augustine through Elkton and Hastings to Palatka (or P-town as I called it and have found others to be calling it, too.) This full rose or honey moon is worthy of slowing down and letting everyone pass me. It’s so big and beautiful and bright. I realize that I have become fully comfortable with the slow Southern speed of living. Tonight is my night to own it. I will drive 45 and if you’re behind me in the slow lane, you can just kiss my grits.
Not every stretch of road inspires me to drive slew but there’s something about the land around Hastings that makes me want to explore further back in past the tree line. I’m looking for barns and old buildings. I want to paint back out of those woods, looking out over the open fields and the road. I want to find an old building that wants to be a studio, that has stood waiting for someone to love it’s dilapidation. I want some old farmer to shrug and say, ‘Sure. I’m not doing anything with it.’ I want to watch cows graze from under trees and paint strong shadows of purple while listening to very un-country music from my friend Dana’s playlist. (He’s the local bicycle shop owner with a history as a Miami DJ.)
I want to find this place and I know I will. I’m wondering when I will allow myself to explore back off the track and drive down those roads and find my studio under those trees. My soul can feel right where it is. Every day I drive this stretch I hone in a little more, to my studio hidden in the trees. It’s calling to me like a beacon.
It’s easier to feel it when you drive 45.