This pandemic makes armchair travellers of us all. Here is an entry from my journal, dated April 22, 2010:
Three people, their backs to us as we pull in, sit silently fishing from the end of a plank dock. Parked vehicles and empty boat trailers attest to other fishers somewhere out of sight.
We have come to visit the Cross Creek, Florida, home of American author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896–1953), best known for her 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Yearling.” An Historic State Park since 2007, it had not been easy to find, hidden away at the side of a narrow road overhung with trees. Just as we were thinking we should turn around, we came upon the entrance.
Although we have arrived on a day when the house itself is closed to the public, the grounds are open and the affable guide welcomes us, explaining what we can still expect to see. He encourages us to stroll the many pathways and to peek in the windows of the big, Cracker style house. I am charmed to see Rawlings’ typewriter on the table in her screened-in porch.
The man leaves us then to explore on our own. It seems, however, that every time we have a question, he appears out of nowhere, crossing our path to feed rose petals to the fluffy ducklings or to rake out the chicken coups.
The heart of the Rawlings farm was once the citrus grove, and there still remain a few orange trees. Besides the house with its iron, hand pump by the back door, there is also a barn, a kitchen garden, a tenant house, and a yellow 1940 Oldsmobile parked in the breezeway. Beyond the farm the vegetation grows jungle-like, cabbage palms and lush trees draped in Spanish moss. The Florida heat presses down on us. It is very still. It is as if the years have rolled back and time has stopped here at 1940.