Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday 1/27/14

     The day started at 5 am,when I started shooting a model home for Melrose.  About 7:45, or half an hour after sunrise, the outside lighting came up to the right point where I could capture this shot - a picture where you can clearly see outside the windows.  It is one of the difficult shots in photography, and I am grateful to have gotten it along with several others that came out well.

     At 9:00 I met with one of the legends of the Island - "Nurse Pat" as everyone calls her.  People speak of her with near reverence.  We sat at her kitchen table for almost two hours while I interviewed her.  I have been using a small camcorder that was given me to do interviews - it allows me to be free of keeping notes so that I am more attentive and the conversation has a lot more continuity.

     Pat is a fascinating character.  She was a nurse practitioner, and her husband, or her "soul mate" as she called him died of cancer when she was 60.  She rode a bicycle to Hilton Head from Baltimore, and fell in love with Daufuskie.  She moved to the island and built her house with her own hands - the fifth house she built in her lifetime.  The foundation stones she picked up with her van from the ferry landing three miles away - a few stones at a time.  She brought in a saw mill and cut and milled the timber herself.  The house is very nice inside - and she has built several out buildings as well.  But when she first arrived she lived in a shed and used a dry-wall bucket as a toilet until the house was built.

     She became the "go-to" person for all of the islander's minor ailments, seemingly both physical and emotional.  Of late she was disturbed that when the economic crisis hit and two of the three resorts went bankrupt that many of the islanders were having trouble feeding themselves.  So she acquired a ten acre site and set up the saw-mill again.  With lots of volunteer labor they have been creating a farm co-op.  Dozens of fruit trees have been planted, there are cows for milking and goats and chickens and geese and ducks and some other critters I am not sure what they are.  Five barns have been erected so far and more is underway.

     A week and a half ago Pat broke her ankle.  Now Pat is 76 years old, and here she is out today tending the goats while hobbling about on a cane with a cast on her leg.  She has a deep spirituality - she even has her "God spot" on her property where she goes to pray.  She has no quarrels with anyone or anything - and yet is seemingly involved in most everything.  The world could us a bunch more Nurse Pats.

     The weather warmed up enough for the first time since I have been here for a few of the gators to come out.  This fella is a big boy - I estimate a bit over twelve feet.  The islanders say that it is not at all uncommon for one of these big gators to snatch a deer when they come to drink at night.  

     Later I drove some dirt roads - they are everywhere in various stages of over-growth.  You never know what you will find.  I found a few places that had decayed so badly that the metal roof and a few timbers were all that was left on the ground.  Another place is a little time capsule of the 1970's - complete with phonograph records strewn about, dishes still in the sink and clothes on the beds and in the closets.  When people decide to leave the island they can only take so much on the ferry - I am told it costs about $ 30 per cubic foot to get things on and off the island by barge.  So most gets left behind.  

     There are so many little dirt side roads it would might take a year to investigate them all.  And who knows what history lies beneath the forest floor - covered in pine needles, leaves, vines and Spanish moss.

    I had been planning to leave today, but there is snow, ice and sleet forecast for this area (be still my heart) over the next couple of days.  So the manager of the properties here emailed and offered to let me stay a few more days so I didn't have to go inland and contend with it.  I had to think about it - for a nano-second.  The couple of days might let me catch back up on editing photos and a couple of the articles before the next destination - whatever that may be.

Have an awesome Tuesday !!

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