Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who lived in Cross Creek between the towns of Gainesville and Ocala, not far from the places her novel describes, admired the independence of the people who lived in Florida’s backwoods. Her fictional Baxter evidently chose to farm on this land because of its isolation. Shunning city life, which makes “intrusions on the individual spirit,” Penny settles on the Florida scrub because the “wild animals seemed less predatory to him than the people he had known.” He learns to live in harmony with nature and to subsist on what his land has to offer. The challenge is great, however, because Baxter’s Island is “ringed with hunger,” and the family’s survival is constantly threatened by natural hazards, including harsh weather, predatory animals, and even the docile deer that Jody Baxter adopts as a pet–the “yearling” of the novel’s title.
*Ocklawaha River. Florida river that originates in several lakes near the center of the state and flows northward along the edge of what is now the Ocala National Forest before it joins the St. Johns River south of Palatka. Lined with cypress trees, swamp maples, and sable palms whose growth is dense enough to form a canopy above its channel, the river symbolizes the danger and beauty that humans must learn to respect, and understand.
After his mother shoots the yearling that has been destroying the freshly planted corn, Jody decides to run away from home. He heads for the river, on which he sets off in a dugout canoe. After several days without food, he is picked up by a river mail boat and returned home, ashamed and penitent.
*Juniper Creek. Exceptionally clear stream fed by a spring that for Jody is a natural sanctuary.