As we inch closer and closer to Southland, that delectable place where the pages curl under the constant assault on aridity, it becomes so much plainer, that warped image of the world. Look at the irrepressible verdure, the choking vines that rise dominant above even the highest trees. Here you will find that nature has found herself a kind of venomous attitude to her competitors, who slink back to drums of moonshine and the comfort of splendid rocking-chairs. Fine moss covers even the quick-moving, almost to the point of actively threatening and punishing slowness. The air is so thick with water that spores float from spot to spot in search of a more stable roost, before being overtaken by competitors.
Nature is surely no slouch, for it cannot afford it. It is the men instead who, having been beaten back, lick their wounds in the damp comfort of their homes. They have eked out only that so-desirable resting point that has come at a cost so great that the mere act of venturing outside has become a coming-of-age ritual, upon which presumable plumes of hair erupt from chests, and bosoms become plump with fertile advertisement.
Truly, the air is turbulent, and every house on land is a veritable house on the river, slowly drowning in a torrent of humidity and hazy heat (to say nothing of the creeping ferns and impetuous grasses that fall upon the unwary attempt to organize against the swampy chaos).
Tilt your head (though beware not to have it fill with water), and take in the confident drawl that surrounds you. Breathe in the hops and the salt. Touch the thin layering of sweat that clings to every pore of every surface, be it skin, stone, or wood. Everyone exists in exhaustion from the fight. No wonder, then, of the smooth curves and grins that come as the sun wearily falls in the West, and people tip their hats to the end of the day. They can sleep as the night gives birth to a symphony of discord, setting the stage for the next living skirmish as the sun rises anew and challenges all to beat the heat for hours without rest. Southland lives and breathes and fights, and don’t you forget it.
What changes there are, when the lights go out. What wilts under the sun changes in the cool damp of the night, almost chasing in its search for return to heat. Red lights and blue notes fill the air, itself becoming an expressly proofed libation, which the eager mouths quaff and gasp in with every passing breath. Raucous, raucous, and ruckus bloom noisily as the night trickles in, a constant celebration of life after sunlight. Standing ovations are heard, and not just from the hoisted shirts and taut jeans, or from the constant raindrop-sound of bead necklaces thrown at every bared celebratory organ. Beer taps flow from brass fountains, patrons’ desire to consume in a piston-fury of bobbing throats fighting with the overt demands for the piston performance of other important areas. The night throbs, croons, and stands erect for all to enjoy.