Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Manatees

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/


I had to pick two ‘Ms’ even though I know that will make this post too long.
 
 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about ‘my’ native land in “South Moon Under” (the first of hers that I read), “When the Whippoorwill,” “Cross Creek” and “the Yearling” and captured, for me, the essence of the deep hammock with its palmettos, white-sand trails, piney woods and giant oaks.
MKR first novel
I reveled with her in the slight coolness of a breeze floating down a hot, humid hall that ran the length of a typical wooden north Florida house from front screen door to back screen door.
MKR home in the park
She captured the atmosphere in the 30s and 40s of racial divides and the way folks lived ‘around’ each other, stepping carefully so as not to overturn the ‘balance.’ I empathized with her tales of loss and learning from the land and people. Her words expressed what my heart knew but couldn’t say. If you have the chance to read her stories, please give especially “South Moon Under” a try and perhaps you’ll also feel the heartbeat, the mystery, and the excitement of discovery that I did when I first read her.
Oh, and she has a state park named after her…
 How could I write about North Florida and not mention Manatees? 


Our young Frenchman's first experience
Those great “so-ugly-they-are-beautiful” gentle beasts that defy man’s reign on their territory with steady, benevolent endurance. Talk about the perfect example of non-violent manifestation. For animals that don’t move very fast, these great “sea-cows” shock and awe everywhere they go. We were lucky enough one year to stay aboard a friend’s boat docked in a marina in Titusville, FL for a few days. No sooner had we arrived and started to cart our belongings down the dock, than we glance into the water, as one does, and saw manatees! I mean RIGHT there, so close we could touch them. Only then did we notice the signs everywhere telling you not to touch them. At the time we had a young Frenchman staying with us and who were we to tell him that the magical animals were off limits? He’d traveled over 3000 miles to visit Florida; I wasn’t about to tell him he couldn’t touch the beasts lounging in the water next to him. Plus, I have to admit, I had never, ever been so close to one before.   Did I say magic? Yes, these huge mammals are fascinating. They move like miniature whales, with a slow grace that belies any stress on their part. Already this post is too long, so I will leave you with; if you ever come to North FL, find a manatee to goggle at. They are well worth the effort…  
We all three caressed the mother’s rough, scarred back as she floated peacefully alongside the dock with her baby. We didn’t touch the baby.





Here is a site to help you find manatees:


Images from:

35 comments:

  1. Not too long night, Lisa! Very interesting. The Yearling was my first novel, and I'm going to find South Moon Under now. Thank you!

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  2. Awww - I'm glad the manatees are surviving along side humans. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings must have been some writer to have a national park named after her.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  3. Go ahead -- do 2 M's - you're allowed. I've visited people who are doing 4 and 5. I agree that manatees are so interesting to watch. It's like they're in slow motion.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

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  4. Lovely post and not too long. There are some bloggers out there who are writing virtual short stories, no pictures, for A to Z. I haven't the time for it, not with so many blogs to visit. I've only read The Yearling so I may have to put some others on my 'to read' list.

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  5. I remember reading the Yearling when I was a teenager. She really knew how to convey the hot, humid climate of Florida!

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  6. I am writing down South Moon Under so I can read it. :)

    I love manatees. They are so gentle and how endangered they are breaks my heart.

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  7. I love manatees. I don't know why, I just find them so weird and fascinating. They look like an alien from a cheap sci-fi movie.

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    1. Especially up close!

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  8. I know a funny song about manatees. :)

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    1. Now how can you say that and then not send me a link to the song?

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  9. And M is also for Midway point of A to Z!

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    M is for Movies

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  10. Hi Lisa .. compared to me - you don't know long! I love manatees - and what a real treat ... that must have been such an experience. I haven't heard of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings .. but she's obviously highly respected and knows her Florida ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Ha ha Hilary! Your posts are shorter this year!

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  11. I've never seen one in the wild. I wouldn't have told him he couldn't touch it either.

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  12. Such gentle creatures. I would love to touch one.

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  13. Have added South Moon Under in TBR list! Thanks for the recommendation, Lisa! Read about the Manatees for the first time today! They indeed look so fascinating! :)
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2015

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  14. I'm adding this to my bucket list: touch a mama manatee!

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  15. I've added South Moon Under to my reading list, too - just finished up reading the first six pages or so on Amazon. She's sure got a talent for description and mood! Also great manatee pics. Did you know it's said that manatees might be the original "mermaids," or at least the thing in the water that sailors thought were women hundreds of years ago? They don't look much like a gorgeous, curvaceous fish girl to me, but I suppose if you drink enough grog, maybe? :)

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    1. Yes I knew that, they are also called "seacows" because of how they look. They do kinda look like a cow with fins!

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  16. We got to see a few Manatees at Sea World recently. Great creatures.

    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

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  17. I actually felt goosebumps imaging that breeze from one of the house to the other. Lovely. And manatees are a favorite of mine. Our local zoo hosts those fantastic animals needing recovery, so it's a mixed blessing. Best wishes! Oh, and my blog is number 1271 on the A to Z list today. Happy writing!

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  18. I love the manatee. They are so gentle and never harm. I hope their population is increasing

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  19. Never had any dealings with Manatees, certainly not in the mid-west. Why were you discouraged from touching them if they are not dangerous? Or are they just suggesting man is the one dangerous?

    As for Marjorie, always cool to hear who has motivated others.

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  20. I've never seen one in the wild but have seen them at Sea World. I am so sorry for them because their backs get cut about by outboards racing up and down the waterways. I think outboards should be banned in the waterways where they are found. They are endangered too. I have heard of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings but never read her books. I won't get through all the books I have now, so probably won't get round to reading her.

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    1. They have lots of laws in place now to protect the Manatees, but they still get hit more than they should by folks who don't care. :( And they are such gentle creatures, it makes me boil! My daughter is name Marjorie, after her great grandmother and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. She was such an inspiration to me...And, my grandmother knew her!!!

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  21. They are fascinating to look at and so strange. I read The Yearling but none of Rawlings' other books.

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  22. I remember in 2004 -07 when we were in Central Florida that you could still hear about a local Manatee sighting.... not sure if they're still there, but I'll never forget seeing this gawd-awful looking creatures that became the cutest things I'd ever seen :)

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  23. When I was in fourth grade, I sold handmade earrings so I could pay $20 to adopt a manatee. (AKA get a certificate that says I adopted a manatee). They're like swimming loafs of bread, what's not to love?

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  24. I do love manatees. You're so right that they are beautiful in their unusualness.

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  25. A work of art, a sunset, an animal, a human body...perhaps what is unique about us IS our beauty,

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  26. They're adorable. The new cute. And what's the saying? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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  27. On my first trip to Florida, we went to Cape Canaveral and saw a manatee. It had such a slow, but graceful way in it's movements. We managed to get a short video of it. Really neat animals!

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  28. Manatees are adorable. I have watched many documentaries about them. Stunning creatures.

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  29. South Moon Under sounds intriguing but the manatees sound adorable. Will add one to my to read list and the other to my to see list :) Thanks for sharing.
    Suzy - Minds

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