The same wind from the west that kept the Space Shuttle Discovery from launching on Thursday kept Mr. B. and me driving around Alachua County in circles, looking for a break in the weather. We planned to hike in O’Leno State Park, to follow a trail to where the river flows underground and then reemerges three miles later, but as soon as we set out, the skies opened up.
We had to make a preliminary stop at a feed store to buy scratch corn for Mr. B’s rooster. The clouds were building up as we left the store, and by the time the slightly angry looking bird emerged from his hiding place under a hedge the clouds started spitting rain. I ran off a few photos of the bird in his magnificent autumnal plumage and then Mr. B. and I spent the next few hours circling underneath the foamy, low-lying storm.
This lack of action made me realize that there isn’t much to do in Alachua County on a rainy day. Lest this become a damning statement of ignorance, take into account that it might actually reveal a total lack of creativity on my part. Or the truth might be that I am so used to Florida’s near-constant sunshine that an absence of it threw me into confusion and panic, not wanting to take Mr. B. to the Oaks Mall or worse, to Butler Plaza, and not wanting to sit chilled in a movie theatre in which I would inevitably fall asleep. It’s the type of time where I wish I had a skill like drawing, or sculpting bronzes, or for building elaborate LEGO recreations of Bavarian castles.
We’d intended to drive south to get as close as we could to the shuttle launch, taking into account that this was probably a foolhardy idea. Months ago, I signed up for the ticket lottery, but I’d not been selected to receive the chance to purchase a ticket to park on the NASA causeway. We thought it might be fun to get a nearby motel room, but those sold out early and cost more than we wanted to pay for a slice of motel mediocrity. This left braving Titusville by car, with the understanding that it is recommended to arrive at an ungodly hour and then to sit through the launch and the post-launch traffic tangle and standstill. We still weren’t sure that we wanted to do this when the launch was cancelled due to the approaching storm. When I learned of the delay, I went back to bed and ought to have stayed there. The day ended with us at Best Buy, buying me a new printer when a cartridge exploded in my old one as I attempted to print out a return form for a camera lens, received today, that didn’t work with my camera and resulted in pictures as unfocused as the day itself had been.