On this All Hallows Eve in Florida we are beginning the steep, hellish descent into the infamous Republican 72 hour pre-election horror story. It's going to be especially unpleasant in this important battleground state, with 27 electoral votes to the winner. The only thing in mom's mailbox today? A handful of fear-mongering fliers against Sen. Obama from the Republicans and various special interest groups. Nearly ever commercial on television tonight have been political attack adds, my "favorite" featuring a menacing voice-over as the camera creeps towards a framed photo of Obama and his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Yeah, they went there. Playing the socialist/radical/leftist card? Check. Playing the race card? Check. Playing the red state versus blue state, us versus them card? Check. Playing the fear card? Check. Actual positive, policy-centered arguments supporting McCain? They'll get back to you on that. From here until Tuesday it's going to be ugly, swinging hard towards the now infamous Rove-ian tactics. How will I cope? By wading into alligator-infested waters, because big reptiles are far better creatures and make better company than political operatives. I'm going down to the south-west edge of the Everglades, one of the most unique, beautiful and most endangered ecosystems on the planet, to go kayaking in the peace and quiet of the mangroves and go slogging through the cypress and sawgrass. It's a small remainder of an ancient watershed that has so far managed to persist despite our best efforts to divert, drain and destroy it. Looking out over the expanses of sawgrass dotted with cypress hammocks I am always reminded of the subtlety of Japanese landscape paintings. The place can be so subtle that it annoys the average tourist, used to more "grand" national parks like Yosemite; they whine and complain that there's "nothing to see," completely blind to everything in front of them. We're going to a more remote area thankfully and the loudest sounds should be ospreys, herons, the sound of my paddle in the water.
I need this. Tuesday's going to be a long night. (sigh)
PS: Never to be forgotten, R.I.P. Studs. One of our true greats.