I’m easily distractible but about a year ago I found a service called Focus@Will that streams background music specially engineered to help creatives and others focus on the task at hand. You can tweak the music settings and choose your favorite genre or switch back and forth. I am a fan of the Ambient music collection and rely on this to keep me in the zone. It works for me.

I’m out on my screened patio most mornings now since it is so cool outside here in Florida. My hens get confused; why is mom up before sunrise turning on lights? They feel obliged to get up and begin their daily routine of scratching the ground looking for bugs and seeds to eat and mowing down the weeds. But the light from the patio only extends to a small area of the yard and it’s dark everywhere else. So they are not quite sure what to do with themselves and after a few minutes they go back to their roost and lie down, waiting for the real sunrise.

I was writing more about my time in Indiantown this morning and realizing the great difference between that little rural farming town and Altamonte Springs. In the midst of all the other chaos and trauma I was experiencing during that time of my life, having lost my father to divorce and having been forced onto the street because of my mother’s nervous breakdown and alcoholism, I experienced a profound culture shock. I wrote this morning that I felt like an alien on a new planet. Everything was different in Indiantown including the people.

During the first weeks at my new home I felt no particular emotion other than the underlying smash of panic that I’d lived with since the day Mom dropped me off in front of M—’s house, the panic that I’d learned to put behind a door inside of me. I wasn’t interested in chumminess with any of these people only partly because I was sure they weren’t interested in being my best friend either. The rest of it was that they were so unfamiliar, so alien, that it was hard for me to believe they were considered relatives. As disconnected as I was from Mom, she was still mine and I knew where I stood. As distant as I felt from —-(my little sister), at least I knew the rules of our relationship and so did she. As harsh as it was being on the street, I had been in familiar territory. Being here in Indiantown was like living on a new planet where I was the alien. Altamonte Springs had been suburban, fast-paced, a mix of black people and white people, current fashion, feathered hair, long-haired rock star wannabes and Soul Train afros. Indiantown was cowboys, farm living, the Seminole indian tribe, migrant workers, and clean cut country boys who spit tobacco and wore baseball caps.

 

There in Indiantown I was expected to go to school even though I hadn’t been for months. I rose early, in the dark, to catch the bus that would take me 22 miles to Martin County High School. My father drove me to the bus stop the first few mornings and played a joke on me. The migrant worker bus would stop at the same place as the school bus, just a few minutes earlier, but I didn’t know it. On that first morning, before the sun had risen, we sat in his truck waiting for the bus. When one came along and stopped, Dad allowed me to get out and board, but it was the migrant worker bus. He’d gotten out of the truck and followed me to the vehicle that looked exactly like a school bus to me, and stood behind me belly laughing as I froze in fear on the top step, looking around at dozens of grown Mexican men speaking Spanish and regarding little teen-aged Farrah Fawcett haired me as though I were from another planet. I didn’t think it was funny, which made Dad laugh even more. He liked to recall the incident from time to time for the rest of his life, and as an adult I was able to laugh with him about it.

Written by Tina Gasperson

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