The latest edition of Armchair Traveling In The Age of Covid takes us to a stretch of Florida that has well and truly been forgotten in an era of urban sprawl and autoAnarchy. And that’s a good thing, friends and neighbors.
Because the thing you have to remember about The Forgotten Coast is that, there, legends are fact and fact is legend. Which is another way of saying that if the Creature of the Black Lagoon and the Wakulla Volcano didn’t exist, we would have to make them up.
What we do not have to make up is The Forgotten Coast’s relationship with the sea. Land and water meet here in perfect harmony.
In point of fact, land and water and light and shadows and reality and illusions all come together in a perfect melding of shapes and colors and illusions.
Until it is barely possible to know what is up and what is down. Not that any of that makes any difference on The Forgotten Coast.
Consider that a St. Marks lighthouse keeper, perched on the edge of the world, worried that he would be slaughtered by marauding Seminoles…who never did find their way to the lighthouse. But just a few miles away, economics and the elements would ultimately make a ghost town out of a boom town.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. What I wanted to say is that I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with The Forgotten Coast by virtue of leading bicycle tours along a stretch of Florida that, somehow, had escaped the curse of concrete, condos, asphalt and expansion. God knows how.
It is only by getting out of a car that you really can experience the natural order of things on the Forgotten Coast and appreciate just how liberating being in a forgotten land can be.
It is not for nothing that pirates and vagabonds and adventurers and fugitives have come here to find refuge.
This is where Ed Ball, Florida’s most notorious robber barron, built his Xanadu.
They picked Ball’s estate, where the Wakulla River converges with the Gulf of Mexico, to stand in for the primeval Amazon…where creatures strange and menacing dwelled.
Because, after all, who could possibly tell the difference?