Friday, July 6, 2018

Glorious wind

Saturday mornings on the 55 were always a relaxed affair. I'd start at the west layover by the 7-11 at Commercial and NW 94th Ave and head east to A1A, then down to the layover at Galt Mile. The bus never filled up and we could generally stay close to schedule. Old men who paid their dues and gave of themselves for our country would ride out to the VA clinic. Concerned friends would head the other way to see sick friends at Holy Cross hospital.

The day started before sun up at the west end, dark and dead quiet. There may have been a gentle breeze, too gentle to take note of. By the time we got to the other end, palms were whipping around like there was a tropical storm brewing. When you're a block and a half from the ocean, you're at the place where the wind is born. And these newborns were mussin' up hair and flingin' off ballcaps.

We were several trips in and way out on the west loop taking Hiatus Road down to Oakland Park when a living reminder of my days as young bus rider appeared. Several reminders actually, grazing among the scrub palmetto. Many years ago I was riding this route on the way to some store near Sawgrass Mills. There's an undeveloped stretch of what was probably farmland generations ago, on the west side of Hiatus. At some point it was no longer tended by a farmer, and became the domain of a herd of goats. It's hard to imagine this happening today, but back then on that day, the bus driver parked the bus beside the field, got out of the bus, and leisurely tossed food over the fence. The goats were ready for him and some may have eaten the bread out of his hands. There were about a dozen of them now, no longer interested in the passing bus. I had a brief idea to continue that old BCT driver's tradition, but thought better of it. The time for that has passed.

It was time to trade calm nostalgia for relentless bluster as we transitioned from the west side to the east end. At the pull in bus stop behind the beach supply store on Galt Ocean Drive we had a rocky layover, with extremely strong wind gusts shaking the bus. Two men doing their best frat boy imitations complete with small bottles of booze showed up in a good mood.
"Where you from, mate? What country?" One asked with a British accent.
   'Right here.' I replied.
"And you don't love this glorious wind?!" He asked with his arms outstretched, basking in the buffeting.
A question that didn't require an answer. The wind is only here for a moment, long enough to invisibly nudge us as a reminder that so are we.

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