More Bonaventure Cemetery coming up!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
As those of you I see on Facebook may know, I’ve been on a ten-day swing through Savannah, GA, up through Virginia Beach, speaking and participating at the Georgia Ornithological Society’s winter meeting on Tybee Island, and at the Virginia Beach Wildlife Festival. Since both functions were on the East Coast on succeeding weekends, it didn’t make sense to me to fly back to Ohio in between. I saw a chance to have a little downtime near the ocean, and grabbed it. I’m so glad I did.
I’d always wanted to see Savannah. And now I had a couple of days to do it! When Enterprise asked me if a Fiat would be OK, I actually squealed. I wasn’t sure what a Fiat would be like, but it sounded like something I’d like. “Four on the floor?” The agent laughed. “Nobody rents manual transmission cars.” Oh well. I coulda done it.
This is my little chocolate chip. I looooved driving it. I could squirt between semis and park just about anywhere, make a quick Uey without going up on to the median…just what you want in a rental car in a strange city.
Sunrise from my hotel on Tybee Island, south of Savannah. A palm tree silhouetted against surf. I’ll take it. I would see every sunrise, and when there wasn’t an early field trip, I’d run almost five miles along the packed wet sand in the fortuitous morning low tides. As I think back on the trip, those were my favorite times, alone on the beach with the birds and the dolphins.
It was nothing but delicious. Sometimes cold...it was in the low 30's at night...but so beautiful, with the changing pastel colors, the birds and the dolphins pulling me on and on.
I had been prepared for Savannah to be beautiful, but still, the building-sized live oaks draped in Spanish moss took me by surprise. It was all so green, and so gray, so shadowy and visually stunning. To have these monstrous trees arching over everything made the urban spaces so much more humane and at the same time dramatic.
Every green space became a park, just by virtue of the majestic beautiful trees. Having lived there, I wondered how you could live in any other city, where lollipop Bradford pears pass for trees. Any one of Savannah's live oaks would easily be the biggest tree in Marietta (which has fabulous trees, make no mistake).
The first place I headed was Bonaventure Cemetery. My fondness for cemeteries has been well-documented here, so this was a natural destination. I left my car outside and entered on foot, laden with binoculars and two cameras. I quickly realized that this vast city of the dead was probably best negotiated by car. The wind sighed through the Spanish moss and I walked from sight to sight.
I was after vistas and statuary, images that would capture the feel of the place, which was distinctly spooky. I am not one to falter in cemeteries; I feel at home there. But this one was different. There was a spiritual activity about it that evades words. Perhaps it was the many tributes lain even on old stones, but I had a strong feeling that, deserted as it was this cool gray Tuesday, there were forces moving, afoot and aflight, through the monuments.
The little voice that helps me understand animals and birds, to anticipate their behavior and watch for anomalies was speaking to me, keeping me alert and on edge. My situational awareness was high and sharp as a blade.
Posted by Julie Zickefoose at 1:42 PM