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June 30, 2001--

This past week brought a return of precipitation to southern Georgia. The greening of the land occurred, from a winter-like brown dormancy to a true Spring succulence. Driving to and from work, a twenty mile journey on a line parallel with the Savannah River, from the Savannah International Airport (actually, just across a runway from it) to almost the edge of the Atlantic, reminds me again and again why we like living on the rim of the continent in this Deep South.

We live fifteen minutes East of historic Savannah, and another three miles by compass is the ocean. From our driveway we can look east and see the green flashing channel marker which orients ocean freighters piloting the Savannah River. We can hear the low drone of their horn romantically echo over the half or three-quarter-mile distance. This vicinity is called "The Islands." Ours is Wilmington Island, one of the "barrier islands" spoken of in the history books describing the Colonial American period where cash crops such as Indigo, cotton and tobacco were raised. This series of islands weaving its way along the concave curve of the continent from North Carolina to Florida protects the mainland somewhat from the ocean's rage and fury, absorbing most of its cantankerous wrath. The Atlantic Inter-coastal Waterway threads its path throughout these islands. Salt marsh and shore birds and palm trees are its faithful features, a delight to the senses. This is the "Coastal Empire and Low Country." From the Great Lakes and 950 miles, we call it home.

The interior sections of America each enjoys its distinctive characteristics, from Great Plains to "purpled mountains majesty." I have loved the climbing of Montana's proud peaks and have hiked along the awesome Continental Divide and its Big Sky, and have delighted in the Southwest with its arid, open vistas, but the shore, the salt marsh, this is where my heart lies. The sights, the smells of coastal living is a delight. There is a certain majesty this sky displays as the weather of the ocean and Gulfstream confronts its counterpart of the mainland. Its skies and clouds make for some amazing scenes. Tidal changes add its variable distinctions as well. There is a certain grandeur here that calms my spirit as I gaze over the waving reeds and channeled waters.

For explanation, here are but a few sights as seen from our general neighborhood:

  1. Freighter Upstream Bound for Savannah Ports Authority
  2. High Tide At Turner's Creek
  3. Tug Guide on Savannah River Passing Historic Downtown
  4. View East Over Savannah River Mouth To Hilton Head Island
  5. Life Along the Salt Marsh at Sunset
  6. High Tide on Betz Creek
  7. From Tybee Island West To Wilmington Is. & Savannah
  8. Go to Tybee Beach, Fly a Kite
  9. The Golden Dawn
  10. October Dawn
  11. Evening Edge of Storm Looking East

There are enough coastal diversions to occupy one's time. You can join a dolphin tour, enjoy a refreshment in a restaurant overlooking the marsh, hunt shells at the beach, climb to the top of the lighthouse. There are a multitude of things to do.

The heat may occasionally be extreme, and the sand gnats ferocious, but there is something about coastal living that can bring peace and tranquility to one's soul. Just don't think about the hurricane season.

~ Comments or suggestions ~

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