The Long Way Home


Tybee Island
April 23, 2015, 7:22 AM
Filed under: Georgia | Tags: , , ,
in the blue

endless

I confess: I cannot swim. Not in the real way, anyhow. I float on my back so I can look up at the sky and listen to the sea. The first time I saw an ocean was in Virginia. I was 11, and I took a raft into the water to ride the waves, only to be surrounded by jellyfish, translucent flowers swirling near my arm. Later, my sister got stung by one, her small thigh swelling up to almost twice its size. I learned the power of the water. Yet still, I have beach dreams. On Tybee, I wandered off saddled with cameras, shoes slung over my shoulder. Crashing waves, a bickering family. Broken, glistening shells. A tiny ship in the distance.

a memory

a memory

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Savannah Morning
April 22, 2015, 6:38 AM
Filed under: Georgia | Tags: , , , ,
welcome guest

welcome guest

It’s 9 AM. Jeff and our friend Tim are having dude coffee talk, and I am in the backyard, rigging a tripod out of an overturned wooden table. The sun keeps slipping through the clouds. We are 11 hours from home, and while I love visiting Savannah, I long to just be in my bed, hug my cat, hide out for a few days before going back to work. Savannah, though, is good to us. The night before, we ate BBQ ribs at Johnny Harris, and then bought a dozen Krispy Kremes with $10 that Jeff found on the ground. We visited Tybee Island, and later, walked to get drinks in the rain. I got a little tipsy, and this morning, find blurry night photos on my iPhone. I wanted to capture the soft darkness, the way the lamp lights glowed across a tiny square like something out of a film. I erase them. I flip through the instant shots I have taken on this trip, brush donut crumbs off the edge of a frame.

Savannah morning

Savannah morning



The Open Road
l. Rural Florida: Jeff finds a giant cockroach. c. Motel hell, South Carolina. r. Last morning, Ocala, FL

l. Jeff finds a giant cockroach, Citra, FL. c. Motel hell, South Carolina. r. Last morning, Ocala, FL.

As difficult as travel can be sometimes, I feel the most at home on the road. I love getting up early and listening to morning sounds: muffled voices through motel walls, the slamming of car  doors, and watching the highway from outside our room, calculating how long it will take us to  get to where we’re going. Our car is our house for the week. We eat lots of trail mix that gets gooey and stale by the end of the trip, drink PA Dutch birch beer. Yes’s Fragile makes a good soundtrack for the red dirt roads of South Carolina, and “Supernaut,” our Floridian anthem. I loved sitting on Tybee Island beach, watching giant ships and earlier, eating salmon croquettes at Neighborhood Soul Food. I loved our late-night stop at the Piggly Wiggly to buy goofy t-shirts and Little Debbie S’mores cakes for the ride home. I loved how on the way back, we stopped in Elkins, North Carolina to find barbecue and instead found a car cruise, the tiny main street packed with people sitting in lawn chairs on a Saturday night. It felt a little like stepping into someone’s home uninvited: not unfriendly, but knowing it’s only temporary — that in just a six hours’ drive, we’d go back to our lives again.

Top: US 301, Florida Bottom: l. Fireworks pit stop, South Carolina. r. Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia

Top: US 301, Florida
Bottom: l. Fireworks pit stop, South Carolina. r. Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia.

Top: l. Old friends, Tybee Island. r. Savannah from the top of a parking garage. Bottom: l. Witch house, Savannah, GA. r. Pelicans, Tybee Island.

Top: l. Old friends, Tybee Island. r. Savannah from the top of a parking garage.
Bottom: l. Witch house, Savannah, GA. r. Pelicans, Tybee Island.

Top: l. Rayon mill, Jesup, GA. r. US 301, Hawthorn, FL. Bottom: l. Cornfields, South Carolina. r. Closed campsite, North Carolina.

Top: l. Rayon mill, Jesup, GA. r. US 301, Hawthorne, FL.
Bottom: l. Cornfields, South Carolina. r. Closed campsite, North Carolina.

Top: l. Open road, Georgia. r. New River Gorge, WV.  Bottom: l. Jekyll Island, GA. r. Blue Ridge morning, VA.

Top: l. Open road, Georgia. r. New River Gorge, WV.
Bottom: l. Jekyll Island, GA. r. Blue Ridge morning, Virginia.

Top: l. Micanopy, FL. r. Elkin, NC.  Bottom: l. Blackville, SC. r. Cross Creek, FL.

Top: l. Micanopy, FL. r. Elkin, NC.
Bottom: l. Blackville, SC. r. Cross Creek, FL.



Lost Monday
September 19, 2013, 10:19 PM
Filed under: Florida, Georgia, Virginia | Tags: , , ,
The shot of this neighborhood never gets old. Ocala, FL

This neighborhood’s symmetry never gets old. Ocala, FL

Six states, seven days,  over 1800 miles and little sleep: our annual trip to Florida to visit Jeff’s family. This year was especially rough because it rained the entire way down there. What should have taken us 10 hours on the second day’s drive took over 15 because of torrential downpours. I’ve braved snowstorms in Croatia and West Virginia, and I’m still deciding what has been the hardest trip: it might be this one. There was one point where we hydroplaned on the Georgia border and ended up on the other side of an overpass on I-95: safe, but with spirits evaporated and the life sucked out of us. We decided to take the back roads the rest of our journey. If the near-accident didn’t happen, we would not have heard a frog chorus in a pond next to a CVS parking lot outside Starke, Florida, which sounded like a hundred voices talking at once. Or seen dusty, faded motels, and low-hanging clouds, a peek of sunset before it rained again. Lightening flashed across the skies intensifying the darkness. It’s the first time in a long while where I lost all sense of time. I didn’t think about work or being back here at home because the only thing that mattered was getting through the challenging weather, to the next state, the next city, the next temporary home. That second day of our trip, while you were at home settling in for the evening, we were lost on US 301 in rural Florida, following a hazy yellow moon to our destination.

Closed for the season. Citra, Florida

Closed for the season. Citra, Florida

Nahunta, Georgia, on our way to Savannah.

On our way to Savannah. Nahunta, GA

The hottest day of our trip: 95 degrees and plenty of mosquitoes biting. Cross Creek, Florida

The hottest day of our trip: 95 degrees and plenty of mosquitoes biting. Cross Creek, Florida

The Blue Ridge Mountains. Wytheville, VA.

Where we started: the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wytheville, VA



Holy Savannah
July 19, 2010, 9:01 PM
Filed under: Georgia | Tags: , , , ,

If I had to live anywhere in the Southern US, it would be in Savannah, Georgia. Moss-covered crepe myrtles shade the city streets, and while the heat that day felt as if someone was blowing a hair dryer in your face, the promises of history and ghosts kept us exploring. With no book to guide us, we walked around until we found sites that sparked our interests – a beautiful old church with beautiful air conditioning; the Paris Market, where I bought a ton of old photos; a cemetery to satisfy our inner goths. Oh, and we toured the Juliette Gordon Low house, birthplace of the Girl Scouts’ founder. I have a slight obsession with Girl Scout history, mainly because my mother, who had a general suspicion of organized groups, told me as a kid that they were a cult and would never let me join. Low was an accomplished, feisty artist and traveler in her day. Had my mother known this, she may have reconsidered my right to earn some honor badges while wearing that awesome green dress.

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

 

quiet, still morning

 

trying not to tan in Savannah, GA

 

haunted tree

 

monster aloe plant in the Gordon-Low garden

 

broken tombstones find a new place on a wall




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