My first visit to Florida was in about 1989. My friend Joe and I drove down from Pittsfield, MA in my Mazda 323 (one of the neatest cars I’ve ever owned - except in this case the car was on a three year lease).
My mind had imagined some gentle countryside with lovely valleys and streams, and surrounding hills which were filled with citrus groves. It was a romantic image, and far from the truth.
In fact Florida is very flat. Very flat! The highest point is in north Florida where Britton Hill rises to a stately 345’ above sea level. Even “Little Rhody” (Rhode Island) has a hill more than twice than height.
As for citrus groves, I saw not one on that first visit. It was a disappointment. But having lived here now for four and a half years I can tell you that citrus groves are rather plain and geometric places, with none of the random beauty of the older New England apple or pear orchards.
But we do have citrus. Much of it is processed just up the road from here in Bradenton where “Tropicana” has a huge plant.
Here and there we find remnants of older “pre-industrial” groves. So it is that in the community which adjoins mine there is a splendid grapefruit tree just outside the house of my acquaintance Dan. The fruits are “there for the taking”. Dan is happy to see them harvested by the locals.
Damn! They are the sweetest, juiciest pink grapefruits you could ever hope to eat. I have enough to give me breakfast for the next ten days.
Sweet, sweet, sweet. And probably sweeter because they are “there for the taking”.
Reminds me of God’s grace!