I was feeling gloriously happy this morning — the medical escalator came to a screeching halt yesterday, and I was ever so ready to get off and get moving! — and then I got an email from my doctor’s office with a new appointment for March 13th. Three weeks away! sigh But I am not going to fuss about it. It is what it is. I did consider calling and canceling — I’m not sure why that appointment needs to be in person, except for the general medical need to follow-up face-to-face when firm cautions are involved — but I’m not going to worry about it.

I’ve realized a couple things about my next couple of months, anyway. The first is that without B, I don’t have such an imperative need to get out of Florida. He was miserable when it was too hot. Even without the congestive heart failure, he was a pudgy little guy with a thick coat of black fur, and the heat was hard on him. Even in 70 degree weather, he’d be panting. Zelda — white dog, thinner coat, skinny and energetic — doesn’t mind the heat nearly as much. And one of the big issues about the heat was that I needed to be able to leave B in the van while I walked Zelda, so I always needed to be able to have the AC running. That’s no longer a problem. I wish it was. I’d much rather be worrying about B and trying to make him comfortable than living without him. But again, it is what it is.

The second thing isn’t a realization as much as it is a hard look at my timeline: I need to be back in Florida in the middle of May for R’s graduation. That gives me two months. And I don’t want to spend them driving. Long driving days are exhausting and time-consuming. There are places I wanted to go — I’d rather be spending spring in the northeast than the south — but I don’t want to be rushing around, spending hours on the road and worrying about getting to my destinations on a schedule that doesn’t give me enough time to enjoy them (and to write a book along the way!)

So my current plan, such as it is, is to relax and enjoy the south. I’ll have a few more weeks in Florida and then I’ll do some exploring in Georgia and maybe South Carolina, maybe even back to Arkansas, and then I’ll swing back into Florida for the first part of May. And then May 20th or so, I will head north, taking my time about it.

And after a stressful couple of weeks, I am relaxing and enjoying my day today. I’m in Lake Griffin State Park, which is a place I’ve stayed before, but I like it more every time I’m here, I think. It’s a small park, close enough to a busy road that you never stop hearing road noise, but I don’t mind that. This morning I took Zelda on a walk down a path that we’ve never gone on before, because of warnings about mud. I could hear the traffic, but being surrounded by nature, breathing fresh air, seeing greenery and giant palmettos and pretty yellow flowers scattered across dead brown leaves on the ground felt magical. Like I’d discovered a primeval swamp in the backyard of a strip mall. And then we reached a place on the trail where the mud was thick and black and goopy and Zelda decided she wanted no part of it. She dragged me back the way we came. Now I’m sitting in the van, windows open, listening to traffic but also birds and breezes in the leaves and a far distant barking dog, and watching a yellow butterfly. It’s a beautiful day for writing many words. Here’s hoping lots of them are on Grace!

A crescent moon through trees

Last night’s sliver of moon