Tybee Island

My trip to Savannah was inspired by its close proximity to Tybee Island on the East coast.  I wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean.  Now at age 30, I can finally say I have.

I spent the first day on the back river access.  The beach area on the back river isn’t as popular, so if you are wanting some quiet solitude this is the place to go.  I walked out across the river to the island and found no one.  It was absolutely vacant.  It was so strange to stand there looking out at the ocean and see no one in 3 directions, just water for miles and miles.

The waves were amazing, much larger and more energetic than those at the gulf.  The waves easily reached 7-8 feet average and came in one right after another.  It was so much fun to jump into them and be pushed out and under, then swim back up to do it again!

The next trip to Tybee, I went to the pier.  This area is very popular and crowded.  The pier itself is like walking into a party.  Near the front entrance is a large open room of sorts that you walk through to get out to the pier.  Inside there’s food and beer for sale and people everywhere with loud music playing.  Out on the pier people are fishing.  The boy next to meet caught a baby shark.  I wish I had taken a picture.  He tossed it back in, no shark fishing allowed.   Next to the pier people cover the beach.  I didn’t like this area as much as I liked the back river access, though I did walk quite a ways down the beach to get to a less populated area.   The waves were less intense this day.  I don’t know if it was timing or location specific.  I’m guessing it had to do with the time of day.

The visit to the ocean was by far the most amazing part of my entire journey, yet I find it most difficult to write about it.  It’s an experience that isn’t tourist.  It was deeply personal and I could write more about my internal landscape at this time than I could the landscape of Tybee Island.  If you haven’t seen the ocean… you must.   It’s a powerful and healing experience.  I was fortunate to have several revelations while there, enjoy some rest, meditate on the beach, watch birds, and I did swim directly next to a jelly fish.  Luckily the sight of the jelly fish was the depth of that experience.  Tybee is amazing, go if you ever get the chance.

Here I am at the pier at Tybee Island.


It Was A Dark and Stormy Night….

He approaches with caution but soon relaxes into conversation about the government versus the people.  And he’s the people.  5 weeks out of the pen on a possession charge from walking the bridge into South Carolina with 2 lbs on him, now he’s “across state lines possession with intent” –a criminal.

His name is David.  He exudes Southern boy charm while he talks.  Careful to keep his distance from me and my female companion, we are two women on the darker end of River street and he stays close to the nearby street light.   As we talk I learn more about him, he says he’s only been in trouble with the law once, the possession charge, and he is scrambling to find real work.  For now, he walks the river now selling roses made from palms that he climbed himself.  He shows me his cut up hands from the climb.  Tells me he does what needs doin’ to keep his room and board, taking trash out for the bars along the river for a few bucks at closing.

He is built and tattooed, but harmless.  I want to hug him because I see something so fragile in his eyes, so tender.  Instead I take two roses and slip him a twenty hoping it helps him with a roof tonight… there’s a storm comin’.

Almost as soon as we say it the Savannah sky breaks open with a loud crack and sheets of rain fall hard bouncing back up from the pavement soaking everyone instantly.  We part ways running for cover from the storm as lightning brightens the sky downtown.  I find shelter inside a little restaurant just as the tornado siren starts to blare.

The place is full of people, all soaking wet and buying nothing.  We stand around blocking the entrance and eating the free peanuts on the bar.  A group of women come in laughing and soon I’m gathered into their circle as if we are old friends.  These beautiful dark-skinned women don’t appear to be bothered by the detour into this place.  They carry on as if we are all at a club together.  They crack jokes about whether or not to move on down the road, one exclaiming she’s gonna go for it.  Another says, you can’t go out in this lightning!  Sure I can she says, if it’s my time it’s my time.  She smiles and we all laugh but she stays around and keeps eating peanuts.

Finally the rain lets up enough that we do make a run for it.  I race down the flooded streets to my car, winding in and out of alleys and past men sitting in dark entry ways to closed shops.  When I get to my car not an inch of me is dry.  I’m cold and delighted.  It feels like it’s storming in Savannah just for me.  I can’t quite explain this feeling but all along the drive it seems right to me that part of my experience here should include a sudden storm.

As I turn onto the street to go back to where I’m staying, I realize I can’t cross.  A tree has been split in 3 directions from the wind. At first I think lightning but it’s not blackened the way a lightning struck tree typically is.  I can feel it dying and I go over and put my hands on it.  It’s a giant oak.  Neighbors from the surrounding houses come out and tell stories about previous damages the tree has suffered.  One neighbor speculates the tree is at least 200 years old.  Staring at the massive trunk, I don’t doubt it.  I thank the Gods my car wasn’t parked here, it had been just hours earlier.

Inside I think more about River Street and the people I met there.  Martin, a painter from Haiti…a group of queer boys who somehow innately know I’m a lesbian and come invite me to join them at the queer bar…the guys who hit on me and when I tell them I play for the other team just smile and say, “that’s okay, do you share?”  The people here are flirty and bawdy tempered by Southern charm and manners – enough to know to leave plenty of space between their body and mine.  They love Savannah and seeing it through their eyes I love her more too.

I go to bed thinking about how I could live here under all this hanging moss tucked away next to the river, just minutes from the ocean.

Savannah Speaks

The land here talks to you.  It has a pulse.

Each part of the city feeling a little bit different.  In the squares and through the giant trees the land feels steady and protective.  Much like a mother, loving but also ready to defend her young.  The land spirits here fiercely love Savannah.   Near the river the energy shifts and becomes more carefree.  Almost like the wild fey in story books, the river beckons you to “come closer child.”  The locals tell me people drown in this section of the river all the time.  A man I meet on River Street tells me the river has 8 different currents under the lid and there’s no coming out of it should you be foolish enough to get in it in the first place.  He goes on to tell me how many people, lit up from River Street bars, strip down to jump in.  People drown he says, shaking his head.  I believe him.  Even knowing better and being sober, as I walk by the river I hear her whispering to me.

Out where my host lives the land is quieter.  It feels like being at your grandma’s house; safe and serene.  Last night a giant oak fell during the storm and I could feel it’s pain.  However, it was nothing like what I felt two years ago when the trees at my house came down in an epic ice storm.  Then I could feel the trees screaming.  This oak laid across the street with a quiet dignity.  I sat with it awhile and the neighbors in the area came out and told stories about the oak, the last time it was damaged and the time before that.  No one knew how old the tree was, one guessed 200 years.

The land at Bonaventure Cemetery has an unusual feel to it.  It’s as if you are floating through the area instead of walking on the land.  I had to keep looking down to see where my feet where despite the ground being even beneath me.  It does have an eerie quality with all the Victorian statues and tombstones neatly nestled in giant trees that are covered in moss.

Parks stretch through this city for miles.  People walk their dogs, jog, play tennis, and what looks like croquet.  I imagine this city would be an ideal place to live.  It has a way of being busy and still all at once.  People moving about all around and yet the land beckons you to move slowly.  It wants you to listen to what it has to say.  I have trouble doing any tourist like things here because I simply want to walk under the giant trees.

Suddenly Savannah

While visiting in Atlanta I made the snap decision to go on a solo retreat.  I’ve always wanted to see Savannah, especially after reading Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.  I’ve also wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean and Tybee Island is a short 18 miles from Savannah.  I made up my mind to go.  Now I just had to figure out how to do it on next to nothing for a budget.  I hadn’t planned for this trip, but I needed it.

I recalled friends talking about using a website to couch surf and so I logged on and found   someone who looked trustworthy to crash with.  I sent off my request and was accepted shortly after.  My host, Beverly, is an absolute joy.  She is very welcoming and her house is the haven I was needing. She is generous and fun to be around but also understood my desire to have time alone for writing and reflection.  She’s a neat lady that gives gator tours and kayaking adventures.  Her backyard is a slice of paradise; green all around, a small pool, and a wonderful hammock. 

This picture really doesn’t do her place justice.  It is so peaceful and relaxing to be here.  I’m quite grateful for the safe, welcoming, and restful place to stay while on my impromptu vacation here in Savannah, GA.

Savannah is gorgeous.  My breath was taken away driving into town.  I fell in love with the hanging moss in large trees that stretch across the roads here.  Every house on these tree-lined streets becomes a work of art no matter how fancy or plain the design.  Magnolias are in full bloom here and the palm trees stretch up like they are reaching for the sun overhead.  I am in love with this landscape.  Savannah was built around a series of community squares, the tour guide brochure tells me there are 21 of the original 24 remaining.  These are large plots in intersections that create a park.  Some have fountains, others big statues, all have green space, trees, and benches that line them.  Every time I walk through one it is busy.  There are people sitting around enjoying picnics, kissing their lovers, and tourists reading the signs displayed at each one telling a bit about that square’s history.

The heat keeps me from spending time writing in these parks.  The temps have been rising to 100 most days.  I spend my time writing indoors at coffee shops or in my notepad at the beach at Tybee Island where I have to fight the wind to keep my pages down long enough to scribble out a haiku or short thought.  I came here to write but I think mostly I am soaking it in for what will come out in my writing later.

Today I’m headed to Bonaventure Cemetery and tonight I’m going to go to an open mic down town.  My sudden trip to Savannah has been exactly what I needed… time to be with myself, to reflect on my life and my desires, and to write.






Intuition: The Traveler’s Best Friend

Always follow your intuition when traveling.  Always.

Last night I went down to River street here in Savannah, GA with my host.  At first I thought we’d take her car downtown, but then decided we should take mine.  She was in agreement and off we went.  Downtown was lovely until suddenly a storm broke out.  Rain came down in huge sheets, thunder, lightning, and then… tornado sirens!  We raced a few blocks then ducked into a restaurant to take cover until the flooding rains ceased.  Finally they let up to a light rain and we raced the remaining 10 blocks or so to my car.

When we pulled onto her street, this is what we saw.

This is precisely where my car had been parked a few hours earlier.  Thank you Hermes for protecting my travels and transportation!