Palm Coast, FL

The Florida interior makes Kansas look mountainous. A mosaic of green agricultural tiles extends in every direction until meeting with the hazy horizon. Lake Okechobee, source of the Everglades, is the dominant geographical feature of the region, but it is quarantined behind earthen levees. Impoverished farming communities punctuate the highways, their few pseudo-historic buildings covered in rotten plywood and graffiti while their railroad links to the outside world have been long-severed. Unlike destitute towns in the midwest, these Florida communities can sill muster a few residents, many of whom sit on porches or loiter in gas station parking lots under the cringe-inducing midday sun. Cars are infrequent along the highways and their rare appearance is followed by craning necks and inquisitive eyes. Watermelon vendors sit under rainbow umbrellas in front of abandoned strip-malls, their decrepit pickup trucks sagging under the weight of towering pyramids of striped fruit. Invariably, they appear lonely, unvisited. The trucks carry far more fruit than they could hope to sell to a bustling crowd, much less an empty parking lot—sugary waste in a land of poverty.