“Chiggers, Sandspurs and Magnolia Blossom Wine” is about Florida, a land of heroes, dullards, beauty, horror. We’ll reflect on it all—in words and photos, stories, reflections, rants and recipes—as I did in The Williston Pioneer, the Florida newspaper I used to publish. Only now, I’ll mostly be writing from a perspective removed from Florida’s unbearable (for me) climate.
More specifically, the focus is north central Florida, its environment, culture and history.
As I began to write, I realized that scraps of Florida’s lush landscape are visible all over, not just north of Orlando. Echos of old Cracker life still sound throughout the state, not just on the banks of the Suwannee. People work to rescue Indian mounds down in Miami and up on the Panhandle. Florida environmentalists are as passionate about the wetlands of the Everglades as they are about Paynes Prairie. And–
Development threatens sandy beaches of south Florida and fishing villages on the Big Bend alike. Wealthy corporations ravage the land from the Atlantic to the Gulf. Right wing religion and politics combine to butcher all that is beautiful from Pensacola to the Keys.
The things I so love and so hate about Florida are not confined to a few counties.
Further, they’re not even limited to Florida. People work for clean air and water, safe working conditions, healthy food and cooperative community worldwide; and overdevelopment, political backwardness, bigotry and exploitation threaten all life.
So I’ll sometimes reflect on happenings in my new part time home, Ann Arbor, Michigan, with hope that my experiences here will give insight into environmental and social developments in Florida as well.
Maybe you’ll disagree with what I write here. But just as I always published letters-to-the-editor that disagreed with opinions I expressed in the original “Chiggers, Sandspurs and Magnolia Blossom Wine,” editorial column in The Pioneer, I welcome your opinions here and hope you’ll leave a comment. Let readers know what you like or dislike about life in Florida and what I write here. And please suggest places, people and issues you believe need recognition and discussion.