29 August 2009

The Agrarian Urbanite (September 2009)

The September 2009 issue of The Agrarian Urbanite is up and running.

This month The Agrarian Urbanite raises issues of food awareness as well as offers some great recipes for those summer vegetables. As always, The Agrarian Urbanite reveals to answers to some of gardeners most pressing questions…

The Agrarian Urbanite is a monthly grassroots publication dedicated to providing practical agricultural education focused on sustainable, regenerative and organic techniques.

The Agrarian Urbanite is a guide for creating balanced, healthier and sustainable communities & neighborhoods.

The Agrarian Urbanite hopes to restore Spirit, Humankind and Earth by being a catalyst for folks to think beyond the garden, building foundations of knowledge & inspiring action.

Thanks for reading.

21 August 2009

Cumberland Island's Disney World Part III

I don't remember at which point during our trip that we started making jabs at Officer Fear Ranger's lecture. On day one we commented, "Man, that was a bumming talk he gave us." By day two, after we felt a little more comfortable in the wood having survived a major storm relatively unscathed and not getting our food stolen by the treacherous and intelligent raccoons the night before, we felt some control over ourselves within Mother Nature's world.

After a long day on the beach swimming, boogie boarding and flying kites we returned to Sea Camp to cook up some supper. Nothing tastes better after a long day on the beach then an ice cold beer, which we had plenty because we had trekked to the ferry that afternoon to buy some ice.

Well, of course, one beer led to two which led to three. I had also brought some vodka, pineapple juice and cranberry juice for a refreshing alternative to beer. After a few beverages, the smack talk started, "Hey! You better watch out for those horses. They'll eat your scalp off!" or, "Yup, I guess we're smarter than those Cumberland Island raccoons. Y'know they are the SMARTEST raccoons that ranger has ever seen?" We went on and on letting out the pent up frustration and underlying fear.

As we sat around the campfire and the boys played with their light sabers in a reenactment of some Star Wars scene, BB and I decided to take a walk to the beach. And, of course, I had to pee. Now normally I would just go in the bushes, but for some logical reason (at the time but forgotten now), I decided that I needed to walk up to the bathhouse. By this point, the moon had risen, but it was pitch black under the oak hammock.

I grabbed some flashlights (some compact but very nice handheld LED's) and put on my cap which has an LED attachment (not a true headlamp) that has always worked great for me in the woods. SB suggested that we take his BIG flashlight explaining, "It's dark out there. We (he and Chad) had to use it last night when we went out the the beach."

I was all like, "No. We're fine. It's not a long walk to the bathhouse. Besides, there's a very clear trail."
He insisted, "It's dark." I was thinking, "Oh, what a city boy." but to appease SB, BB and I took the light and I left him with one of my flashlights. (Chad had his headlamp.)

As soon as we walked out of our campsite and away from the fire, the woods darkened immensely. I wasn't scared, but I felt slightly unsettled. I switched on my hat light, and it wasn't quite a bright as I remembered even though I had used it only three months prior on a camping trip to the Smoky Mountains. It gave off a dim yellowish light at best and not the hot white that LEDs usually give. I remarked, "Oh, I guess the batteries are getting low." I switched on my small hand held flashlight that cast just enough light to see the path, but not much more. A dark wall engulfed the space just where the flashlight's guidance stopped. BB and I could see the mere outlines of each other.

BB wanted to put on the big flashlight and somehow I convinced her not to, that the bathroom was close and that we could sense our way along the trail with the smaller light. We chatted along the way talking about the Ranger and how he said the Island wasn't Disney World that it was a WILDERNESS and that we had traveled to plenty of WILDERNESS areas where we had to hike in carrying our food and gear on our backs for miles and miles and had camped in the wood for longer periods of time and dug our holes to poop in...yeah, wilderness? I ain't never been to no WILDERNESS that had running water, showers and flush toilets or that we didn't have to filter our own water...this ain't Disney? You sure? It seems that armadillos and shit happens right on cue like you AT Disney World...like a fairy tale...mmm hmm...on and on rather cockily.

We prodded along for what seemed too long when I suddenly stopped. BB bumped into me and said worriedly, "What? What is it?" The outline of her head glancing to and fro. The whites of her eyes showing through the black like yin and yang.

The darkness messed with my eyes. I had concentrated on the trail, lined with the saw palmettos with the night laying around us like a thick blanket, so intensely that I felt confused. I stopped and shook my head out and said, "I think that I wandered into a campsite. I don't think we are on the trail."

We looked around. Panic ensued. Not a scream out loud, we need help panic, but a punch in my gut that said, "Fuck. This IS the WOODS. The Ranger warned us...I didn't believe him...now we're lost just walking to the bathroom and the guys are going to laugh at us."

We decided to turn around and follow our tracks, but even that seemed foreign. If we indeed had wandered into a vacant campsite, which way would we turn when we exited the campsite? Had I accidentally wandered onto the main trail that led to the docks or towards the beach? Suddenly, I felt lost.

We turned and walked back towards the direction that seemed we had originated. Two girls now, not women, shaking; one in her flip flops the other barefooted. Suddenly, stepping on a rattlesnake took on a whole new meaning an seemed very real. I thought, "Dear God, please don't let us get med-vacked out of here tonight. That would just give that old Ranger someone else to make fun of, and I don't want it to be us."

Suddenly a huge bright light filled the forest like the sun had risen as BB switched on the flashlight that SB demanded for us to bring along. I said, "Wow. That thing is bright. SB was right, but don't tell him I said that."

We moseyed on the trail at a creep looking at every little thing trying to get our bearings when we came across campsite marker "C". We found a landmark, but we still weren't quite sure which direction was our campsite nor the bathroom or if we were exiting the campsite. (Really, it was so dark, that my little flashlight did not illuminate the campsite markers.) We took a right which we thought, if we were correct, would lead us INTO the vacant campsite.

Now mind you reader, we are college graduated. One of us is an accomplished attorney who runs a successful law practice and the other is an MS of education who is not an award winning writer yet, but will be, one day. We aren't dummies, but I did feel humbled.

We cautiously walked into what we expected to be a campsite and BB's light shone on the fire ring. An exclamation went out with a huge sigh. We knew where we were. We weren't lost. We turned and went out of the campsite. At this point, we weren't familiar enough with the campground to know which side of the trail that "C" was on. We weren't sure by going right if we would go the bathhouse or back to the campsite...which no way in hell could we do and admit our mistake!?!

We made a turn knowing that either direction would move us closer to familiar ground. We came across the next campsite marker #15. At that point, we knew that we were headed back to camp and only about twenty yards from our own tents. Having our bearings, we, yet again, did an about-face. BB shone the light at each campsite marker. We passed "C", then we got to "B". She stopped, pointer her light and said, "You see that? I see some lights up ahead." What seemed very far away, were some yellow lights illuminating what appeared to be an old worn tool shed.

Inch by inch we walked picking up the pace and feeling a little more confident. We saw the marker "A" and BB said, "Yes this it." We took about 15 paces and the trail completely opened up and there sat the bathhouse (what looked like an old tool shed from the distance through the wood). Seeing the difference in the main trail compared to the path to the campsites, we asked, "How on Earth? What happened?"

We admitted defeat; that Mother Nature had won and that maybe Cumberland Island wasn't Disney World and that it was a wilderness area seeing as we couldn't even make our way to the bathroom at night without getting lost.

I peed, and when I came out, BB stood there pointing at an electric outlet in the woman's bathroom. Fear subsided I said, "Yeah. Wilderness?" and we laughed. Walking back to camp, we decided not to tell the boys of our misadventure, which was really very exciting. There's nothing like getting the heartbeat up and feeling a tinge of fear and panic to heighten a situation.

Like riding a roller coaster at Disney World.

Thanks for reading!

20 August 2009

Cumberland Island's Disney World Part II

I am no longer haunted by my memories of Cumberland Island, but I feel a need to document the experience before life in the real world and September's Agrarian Urbanite monopolize my brain...

Part II

Recap: bitter disillusioned Ranger gives the fear speech leaving us afraid and weary of everything and we discover that armadillos aren't so scary...

By the next day, the armadillos became the obvious local residents of Sea Camp. They owned the place, but because of the thick underbrush, we never saw them coming until they were under foot. The sequence went like this: walk, walk, walk along the trail; hear movement in the bush; stop and look around for, for, for a raccoon? a snake? anything? then POP! an armadillo would waddle out snooping it's long nose along the ground...it's gray plated armor protecting it from EVERYTHING with it's long sharp claws which are something that nightmares are made of. The POP! was usually followed by an, "Ahh!" Brief sigh, then, "Oh, yet another, armadillo. Surprise."

But they didn't get boring and we didn't take them for granted. They actually became cute and more interesting as we were able to watch them feed and snoop. We even saw one jump.

They really are in their own little world and, I think, completely oblivious to us humans. One popped out at us and when we all jumped and screamed a little bit, I think the little sucker took notice and said to himself, "Oh shit! That thing is BIG!" and it jumped.

During twilight, life comes into itself. The animals really start moving about in search of supper. Because it's not quite dark, you don't need a flashlight, but the light plays tricks on the eyes which in turn plays tricks on the brain. At twilight, one needs to be super alert because things are waking up and stirring.

Aggravated, Officer Fear Ranger told us about a woman who was walking around at twilight and stepped on a RATTLESNAKE (it was probably a normal snake, but because it wasn't caught, we will never know), and the snake bit her which is a perfectly logical defensive move on the snake's part. The true point of the story was that it took several hours to get her off the island with by the time they were able to notify the Ranger and the call was put in to the mainland putting the emergency team into danger because they had to bring a boat across the waterways at dark and...etc etc...etc...told you he was a bucket of laughs.

One twilight, I was not being super cautious. As I returned from washing some dishes and fetching water, my head flopped side to side and I was probably singing a little ditty in my head when CRASH! The palmettos parted in front of me. I screamed and loudly. When I got my wits, I looked around and, you guessed it, an armadillo ran out onto the path...then stopped right in the middle of the path. I really didn't want to get to close to the thing. It was kind of big for an armadillo, but I couldn't get around it because it was hogging up the entire path which was only about three feet wide lined by a thicket of saw palmettos. I was laughing because I had screamed out so loudly, and I didn't know what to do. So I did the first logical thing and that was to tell it to, "Shoo."

Did I feel ridiculous? Yes. Telling a wild animal who is oblivious to humans to "shoo" was about as effective as trying to dig a grave with a toothpick. I clapped my hands a few times, and the creature kind of looked at me but didn't move out from the center of the path. I didn't want to jump over it because I didn't want it to jump up into me. So I waited. Finally the little critter moseyed back into the saw palmettos, and I quickened my pace back to camp keeping a little more aware.

To be continued...

Tomorrow Part III of Cumberland Island's Disney World: "Are You Sure This Ain't Disney World?"

19 August 2009

Cumberland Island's Disney World Part I

Cumberland Island wasn't all serious and mystical and spiritual. Some crazy funny stuff happened, too.

It's stupid that I didn't get a photo of an armadillo. These things are everywhere, and they have no fear of the humans on the island. If you have seen any of the photos or researched the Isle after reading all my posts, you will know that the only cleared areas in the Oak Hammock are the actual campsites, the few trails, the Ranger Station/boat dock and at the bathroom area. Otherwise, under the hammock it is all palmettos with gigantic Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss. Seeing under or through the palmettos was impossible because of their thickness.

When we arrived at the Island, the normal person who gives orientation to the campers had gone on vacation herself, so we had the middle aged, grim, disillusioned, I've-been-working-for-the-park-service-too-long-and-seen-to-much-shit-and-stupid-tourists Ranger. One thing that he kept reiterating was the Cumberland Island is a wilderness area, not Disney World, and that we all had to be very aware and serious about the dangers on the island which he went on and on about for so long that we barely had enough time to secure camp before a torrential downpour (and tornado which we found out later had touched down on the north end of the Island).

With thunder grumbling, we made our way to the campsite and secured camp. We then had to walk back to the Ranger Station, return the carts that we used to haul all our stuff in on and rush back to camp (a mile and a half with all three trips there, back and there). By the time we returned to camp, the rain had started to fall in huge drops and lighting and thunder crashed all around us. With no other place to go (like a gift shop or restaurant) most of the group, except for me, went into their tents. I was stupid enough to let myself get caught out in the worst storm the Island had seen all season, if not longer.

After 45 minutes in the grueling rain and wind watching a river of water flow through the campsite (my shoes nearly floated away and the bottom of the tent, I'm told, felt like a big water bed), the storm abided and left a new calm in the forest, Sea Camp and especially number 13.

It wasn't long before the first armadillo showed up. It didn't really show up, it just sort of sauntered out of the bushes keeping its nose to the ground pushing things along looking for grubs. We all freaked out, and we didn't go too close because our ears still rang with the Ranger's substantial fear lecture. By that night though, all fear of the armadillos had subsided leaving a calm like the earlier storm.

That night, an armadillo came right into camp just shuffling along. They don't seem to eat human food, but maybe he was attracted to the campfire. SB got one of the beer boxes that had partially disintegrated in the storm (because we let the beer sit out in the rain...hell, it was cans, nothing could hurt it) and tried to use it to shoo the creature back to the thicket of the palmettos. Well, that little guy wasn't havin' it. It didn't care. It went around minding its own business not hissing or freaking out or anything.

SB kept trying to shoo it when his six year old son screamed out at the top of his lungs (which comes out VERY loud in a quiet forest with no city sounds or buildings around to muffle the noise), "STOP! STOP! DON'T HURT THE WILDLIFE!!! YOU"RE HURTING IT! STOP!"

We all cringed. We knew the neighbors a few sites down heard his bellow. SB wasn't hurting the wildlife at all. He wasn't even touching it. He was very cautiously shooing it with a very soggy beer carton. We very loudly replied so everyone around could hear, "He's not hurting it. He's not hurting anything. He's just shooing it," trying to explain to the boy and the neighbors that we were not throwing things or taking knives to the to the little beast.

There is also quiet hour at Sea Camp, and, well, at any campground across America. At night, every little sound carries far distances. We had no idea what time it was. It was dark and that's all we knew.

We might of got a little stink eye from our neighbors the next day.

As I laid down with Blue to sleep for the night, my scared son felt extreme worry and fear about the wild horses and the raccoons both of which the ranger had gone on and on about for what seemed an hour. Blue repeated what the ranger said almost verbatim. It took me at least half an hour to change the direction of his mind by getting him to think about the funny armadillos. Finally, he drifted off to sleep.

So, by this point, yes, we definitely had to agree with the Ranger that Cumberland Island was NOT Disney World.

To be continued...

18 August 2009

The End of Summer

Oh (said with a long exasperated exhale of a sigh tinged in grief).

It's quieter around the house as my son is off to spend his days in the government care that we call school. I feel such a sense of melancholy. For I admit, though there were days that I was at my wits end with him, I want summer to go on and on.

As school cranks its gears into motion, I'm still at the beach romanticizing about giant live oaks and wild horses while following bobcat tracks into the wood. I'm still whirling about how much I enjoyed spending time relaxing with another family as we shared duties such as cooking, childcare, dishes, and fetching water. I appreciated the constant conversations, support and openness that seemed flow so easily on the island. I liked being half naked not worried about body image while sauntering around in a bathing suit feeling the sun warming my skin.

A few more days on the island would have had me reverted into a tribal state...my mind was already reaching there wandering and feeling freer and freer each moment. I didn't pick up a book nor my journal once. My senses exploded, and I simply rode the wave enjoying every free moment not concerned with documenting or educating. As the writer, I felt such a sense of relief to release the occasional burden of expression through written word which often haunts me.

On the last night, I wanted to take a shower, naked, at the "rinse off" shower near the boardwalk that leads to the beach. Though the traditional unisex showers were merely surrounded by a few thin walls with hooks, a locking door and simple screen as a roof, I wanted to take a shower amongst the trees.

Earlier that day, BB and I were out on the bikes and found a beach access to what is called Greyfield Beach where the few residents and the guests of the Greyfield Inn go enjoy the sea. After an hour of beachcombing at Greyfield Beach (where residents of the isle get to drive their four-wheelers with their supplies onto the beach...oh, heavens, imagine if they had to walk like the rest of us?), we headed back to sea camp with a few treasures to show the boys. On the main road, nailed to tree, was a tiny little sign posted way up high pointing to the luxurious, notorious and mysterious Greyfield Inn. And of course, we wanted to see it. (Both BB and I live in historic homes in an H-1 nationally protected historic zone. We kind of have a thing for old things.)

We rode up the tree lined drive on our rented beach cruisers, and it opened to a clearing. There were buildings, a few horses grazing on a lawn and, beyond some large live oaks, the Inn. We were going to bike past it (not get off our bikes and try to go in...we were sandy and gritty from the beach and LORD we have more sense then to mess up their lobby!) when a woman halted us. She told us that we needed to exit the property since non guests disturb the privacy of the residents of the island and the guests of the hotel.

I was flabbergasted that I couldn't just bike past the Inn, a historic site and landmark on the island. The night before, Chad and I jumped the broom to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. In all honesty, I was hoping (since I was on the island which is an eight and a half hour drive from Knoxville) to see the Inn up close and personal with ambition to return for a future anniversary. Well, the woman wasn't haven't any of that. There was no getting by this Sentry. She told us that we could see the Inn online at the website, though the Inn sat right in front of me hidden by a few trees.

(Chad told me on the return to Knoxville that he researched the Inn before we left town. They have a restaurant, and he wanted to take me to dinner for our 10th wedding anniversary. The Inn is so particular and illustrious, that one MUST be a registered guest to dine or even sit at the bar there.)

BB and I laughed and complained all the way back to Sea Camp. Of course, we knew that she was just doing her job, but it felt good to blow off some steam as we were slammed and humbled into our commonness and peasant status among the truly Wealthy. We decided though, that peasant-ness was good because we gots the freedom to have fun (even the Wealthy try to slum it every once in while, but we ain't havin' them!).

Back to the shower. It was this truly humbling experience along with my newly tanned beach skin (those of you who know me KNOW how dark I get) along with walking barefooted in a skimpy (yet modest) swim suit covered in beach salt and sand that opened the flood gates for a feeling of utter and complete tribalism. Suddenly, all the common folk of the island and world were of my tribe.

There are many who try to pretend that they aren't of common folk, but there's no denying it. One may have wealth, but Cumberland Island and the Greyfield Inn are of the Carnegie's and Kennedy's. It don't matter who you are, you is common. If you ain't from that "old" money, you is pretendin', fool.

I imagined that I was a servant or a slave on the island and as the Gents and Women dined seven courses, we cooked over an open fire slapping together a feast to rival the best culinary delights. As the Fine People dined with linen cloths and silverware lined neatly and properly at each setting, we sucked down our food with shared or no utensils letting the juices drip from our fingers and chins while sitting around a wooden picnic table draped in a vinyl red and white checkered cloth. As the Wealthy sat in corsets and tuxedos, we let our bare feet and our sons' bare feet collect more beach sand as the sand flies bit our ankles.

And when it was all over, I wanted to take a shower the way a servant or a slave of the 1800's may have had to do it. Outside and unashamed knowing exactly what I came from, like life crawling from the ocean and completely bonded with Earth.

13 August 2009

The Sentinels

I wasn't too sure what a sentinel was when it popped into my head while trying to get to sleep after a magical episode on the beach, and I knew that I would have to wait until I returned to the real world to research its meaning. My favorite source of clarity is the thesaurus. The online Thesaurus defines a sentinel as a sentry and gives the following synonyms: guard, keeper, lookout, picket, protector, watchman/woman, watchperson.

When we arrived at Cumberland Island, we got an absolute fear talk from the park Ranger in regards to all the DANGEROUS wildlife on the island including the horses that, he led us to believe, would just as much eat your scalp or stomp you as look at you. He instilled an alarm that resulted in near phobia in regards to the horses on the island. With that in mind, uneasiness and trepidation steeped the following experience enhancing it to the tenth degree. It wouldn't have been nearly as mythological without the underlying concern that we could get stomped to death.

The Walk To The Beach

the Moon Goddess beckoned
as all her fullness
hung low above the ocean

in the dark of night
armed with only a flashlight
a walk
to the beach
through the woods,
with low thick branches
covered with dangling
spidery spanish moss,
and the sand dunes,
marked with the shadows
of plants
reflecting eerie white,
channeled stirrings
of mystique, apprehension
and veneration

on the boardwalk
a young couple stood
perched on the bench
and peering
toward the water
alarmed us
"horses. the horses
are there to the left."

BB courageously
walked the boardwalk
towards the sandy path

after hearing the horses
running through the Sea Camp trails
the night before
there was no predicting
what might happen
they were spooked towards us
there would be

walking on the beach path
BB advanced
as I clung to the soft sand
on the edge
of the dunes
her excitement rising
with each step

her flashlight caught the eye
of a horse eating
sea oats
in a dune
that marked
the gate
to the beach
she continued to close in
my fear welling
in the deepest part of
my gut

calling her back
to the region of the boardwalk
the other couple left their perch to stand with us
the male of our foursome
walked alone to the edge
where the horses stood
his girlfriend afraid
that he would get stomped
I called him back
through the wind
unsure if my warning
met his ears

soon enough
he returned
then all four of us
slowly crept
the sandy path
towards the horses

as on cue
the horses lined up
the main horse
stood at the highest point
in a break between two dunes
facing us
the other horses
flanked his sides
creating an arc with
their frames
like sentinels
behind the sand knolls
awaiting a possible battle
or only allowing the
worthy to pass

we slowly approached
with reverence and
three of the four humans faced
the horses
standing no less than ten feet from them
barely breathing

not stopping
nor slowing my pace
I looked up
made eye contact
and nodded to the lead sentry
in a sign of
and gratitude
and complete awe
then skirted the narrow
between the creatures and
the wide open beach

the beach stretched
for an eternity
as Her Divine Majesty
hung over the water
Her powerful pull
lulling me on
knowing that at any instant
the horses could stampede
and trample me from behind
at once I made peace
with the fate that may mark
my end

stride quickening
I darted
the full moon

breathing deeply
the air
feeling foreign
not filling me
my skin gasping
with every pore opened
needing quenching
thirsting deeply for the
like a mermaid out of water
needing to reconnect
with her home

keeping careful eye
of the tide markings
I deliberately placed my shoes
on the highest ground
walked down to the water
baby waves
licked at my ankles
looking back to find BB standing close by
I handed her my glasses
I told her not to worry
that I would return

with the water covering my feet
and the overwhelming need
to immerse myself in
the ocean's
healing waters
I walked into the sea
with the full moon
aligning with my heart
and dove into an oncoming wave

under the water
all was silent
and dark
and pure

aligning my chakras
with the moon
I surfaced
in the distance
from a cloud illuminated pink
by a storm
lightning hit the water
Thor making His presence known
as the power of the
embraced me

salt in the form of tears
now flowing from within
I cried out in
human pain
feeling my grounded soul
yearning for the touch of
the Divine
my Earthly bond
and my soul's purpose for this life

filled with relief and calm
clothes, hair and skin dripping water
I turned back towards the land
impregnated with gratitude
ready to begin
knowing that I had indeed
touched the mythical

12 August 2009

Back in the Real World

Upon returning from Cumberland Isle, we had to rush off the morning after to get Chad to his ear surgery. These are some of the notes I jotted down while sitting in the the waiting room. I can't guarantee that they make any sense, but you will be able to see how far out my mind stretched.

First Night Back in the Real World
Back in the world
after 5 days on Cumberland Island
I woke (in my bed) last night
thinking the shadows
on the ceiling
of my room
were the Live Oaks
under the full moon
shadowing my tent
I could see every detail
including the Spanish Moss
(which we learned is neither Spanish
nor a moss
but related to the pineapple
dangling from the Live Oak
I perceived animals up in the branches
and a tiger pacing
like I was in a jungle
I could smell the air
the only thing missing
was the sound of the waves
which is probably when I realized
that I was in my bed
and I returned blissfully
to sleep

the images of the island
the experience
the magic
the peace
the natural noises
are all fading
like an awesome dream
that you grab at and try to remember

the magic seems so far away
the sights
the scents
I wish that I had
some time to process
before thrust into
this pace
I will have to wait
and meditate
to recall my island experiences

like a Heinlein novel
i AM a stranger
in a strange land
and i don't want to
ever fit in

my brain is so frayed
will I ever piece this
all together?

More Odd Thoughts
I don't want to fill
my brain
I want to empty it.

One More...
How are you Lady Winckel?
Not the same.

10 August 2009

More Than Magical

We left the Island two days ago, and since, I have been wondering if it was all really a dream.

BB Mumblings at Dither wrote a little ditty entitled Cumberland Island National Seashore so I know that I wasn't alone, and it really wasn't a dream.

There are two places that I have visited that stirred my soul: Mt. Shasta (Shasta-Trinity National Forest) in Northern California and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia.

Though nothing especially note taking occurred on Mt. Shasta, it's mere size and energy along with the crisp clean air and freedom from burden put Mt. Shasta at the top of my list for one of the most amazing places that I had visited. After standing on that mountain, I felt a shift in me. It's a powerful mountain.

I always thought that I would have to return, that nothing could fill and move my soul like that again.

Enter Cumberland Island.

Cumberland Island is more than magical. It's mythological.

Normally on an excursion, I take hundreds of photos. I took few on this trip, and the ones I took are marginal. I have a few good shots, but nothing more. What I have are images burning in my mind, and just like the wild horses, it's fleeting. There is no capturing it.

I can try to put it to words. That is a writer's job, but I don't know if it is possible. I don't know if I am ready to truly reveal what happened to us out there. It seems and feels more like a fictional novel or an amazing, beautiful and magical dream.

I jotted down, in poetry form (I think it is really the only way to approach it) some of my memories, and those I can share. But first I have some things to figure out.

First Day on the Island

dripping sweat
hiking in

three carts filled
one half mile
to number 13

in the distance
thunder rumbling
the clouds
to see through the hammock

camp secured
half mile walk
to return the carts
half mile trek
to double back
to camp
first rain drop
then another
lightning flashes to a count of
in the woods around us

back at camp
huddled around the table
under the tarp shelter
rain begins to fall
lightning thunder
lightning thunder
5 of the 6
retreat to the tents
and only one remains
to weather the storm

pure fury
river of water through the campsite
lightning flashes
then with no pause
thunder crashes
over and over and over
wind thrashes
and blows the rain sideways

sitting on the table now
feet on the bench
soaked to the bone
chilled by the storm
and feeling all
Mother Nature's fury
meshing and melting
my own fury

First Night on the Island

thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
horses gallop on the trails
through Sea Camp
BB says
"I hear something behind the tent"
flash of light
an armadillo scuffles its nose
along the ground
in search of supper
unalarmed by the beacon
causing its armor to radiate bright silver
then barely audible
the sound of a light drum
thump thump
thump thump
thump thump
on the dunes
behind us

02 August 2009

The Agrarian Urbanite (August 2009)

Hi. It took me a bit longer to finish this months issue with the mourning of my friend's death, but August's The Agrarian Urbanite has made it to "press". This is Volume 1 Issue 3. You can read past issues at www. agrarianurbanite.wordpress.com.

Thanks for reading.