We also went to Cross Creek to check out the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, one of Florida’s most famous writers. Although born in Washington, DC, Rawlings moved to Cross Creek, a small rural town, in 1928 to find a home and place to write. From the front porch of her cracker style house she wrote five novels and over 30 short stories. Her first, South Moon Under, was published in 1933. Her most famous, though, is The Yearling, which won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize. A movie was made of it in 1946. Today the house is furnished as it was in the 1930s and is surrounded by the citrus grove which was her income as she began writing. The home and surrounding land became a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
Last week I finally finished reading Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ memoir,Cross Creek,which was first published in 1942. I have read quite a few memoirs in my life and none compare to this one. This is not a complete autobiography, in that she focuses only on her time spent in Cross Creek, Florida, but nothing compares to the people, places (and animals) found there. One chapter she is talking about shooting a neighbor’s pig who keeps rooting up her petunias and in the next she’s talking about going rattlesnake hunting with a couple friends. At the turn of each page she introduces you to something new, fascinating, and completely alien to our suburban lives. She continually reminds us that we are a part of something bigger: “This was the cosmic life, with suns and moons to make it lovely. It was important only to keep close enough to the pulse to feel its rhythm, to be comforted by its steadiness, to know that Life is vital, and one’s own minute living a torn fragment of the larger cloth.” Rawlings also spends one long chapter describing the food typically eaten at the Creek, using such pharses as, ”Okra is a Cinderella among vegetables.” She was a fearless and adventurous woman who made the most out of life. I highly recommend this book; it will help anyone and everyone put their life in perspective and be grateful for everything we have.
“Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.”