"In this modern world, we travel fast but we see little. Our routes are marked and are merely a matter of routine. Migration, I'm sure, is not so. Migrants travel light, picking up their food as they go. They absorb and become part of the landscape, which to me is the only way to travel. You could get more out of a walk to a near-distant wood than a quick 100 mile trip to a relative, because of the same reasons."
Those words were written by Mallory Pearce 10 years before I was born. It was part of a high-school paper he wrote, and it was in a chapter titled "Advent of spring and migration." Mallory was kind enough to spend the better part of the day with me schooling me on the various animal and plant species on Tybee Island. You see, Mallory wrote a book not long back.
It is a book that covers geographic history, flora and fauna of the "Low Country" - that island dotted portion of the eastern seaboard that runs from North Carolina to northern Florida. The book is all hand-illustrated with renderings of the various animals and plants that call this area home.
Discussion of plant life was interesting, but I don't do well with remembering Latin names. One had "vomitus" in the name, so called because the Indians used it medicinally to - well, I guess vomit. The coastal area is always neat because you transition through different eco-systems in a matter of a few feet.
But we did spot some birds . .
That last bird - the grackle? I have been calling that a Raven for years. I guess because on Sullivan's Island where Edgar Poe wrote "The Raven" there are thousands of these. He identified many more birds from their song that I could not photograph back in the thickets.
Between stops at the various marshes, ponds and beaches Mallory would introduce me to his friends at the various pubs on the island. And on this island EVERYONE knows Mallory. He moved here with his parents in 1950 and returned to care for his parents after a long career doing animation for documentary and scientific films. Mallory , who sings in the local Episcopal Choir, does not consider himself religious in the traditional sense. He rather leans toward Pantheism, a view which perceives God as the whole of nature and the Universe rather than a separate entity. Mallory was making the transition from the holiday spiced Sam Adam's winter brew to the tangy summer brew - spring is definitely in full swing here on the islands. But it seems it would be a lot easier to get drunk than to get religion on Tybee - there are a lot more pubs than churches.
Later in the day, while sitting at one of the local establishments he whipped out a drawing pad and penned a the following sketch in just a couple of minutes.
Quite the set of jowls, huh? Anyway, Mallory is still teaching three classes at the local college - and he turns 79 in a couple of weeks.
Have a great Saturday all.
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