While trying to make a buck, fate stole up and tapped me in the back of the head with a lead pipe. I awoke at 35,000 feet, smoking eastbound at 400 miles an hour encased in the aluminum tube of a Boeing 777. Hilarious and conniving gods, for their own entertainment, decided I should return to Israel. Yeah….its real funny….I am gone again.
Here, timeless indentured Roma centurions work to transform large mechanical flying devices on behalf of an Amazon to be operated by an Atlas. I am to take the fall should anything go wrong. The Roma are competent, but work to their own schedule. The Amazon and her Atlas snarl and threaten, demand their infernal, howling machine NOW – and the Roma shrug and turn away, unimpressed. Thus has it always been.
My job amounts to pushing mountains of digital paperwork and there is much time for navel-gazing. Beached in Tel Aviv, I think of Georgia.
I live now on the coast of Georgia in a cute little pink house with my friend, lover and collaborator – Voodoo Chile’ – Dawn Jex. The house is only two blocks from the Darien river – an offshoot of the mightiest river you never heard of – the Altamaha. The Altamaha is about 140 miles long and drains approximately 14,000 square miles – about 1/3 the state of Georgia. The Altamaha is still in its natural state and its estuary is mostly protected from development by a hodgepodge of public and private land. It’s floodplain is 5 miles wide – flat, hot, buggy, beautiful swamp. Broughton, Egg, Little Egg and Little Saint Simons islands float transient in its outflow. It reverses current on a flood tide – briny, brackish water stacks up 15 miles inland, then, when the tide ebbs, it all rushes back to the ocean. Shrimp, oysters, skimmers, plovers, pelicans, sturgeon, alligators, marsh grass thrive to the pull of the moon in the swish/swash tidal clock.
The coast of Georgia – from the Saint Marys river in the South, to the Savannah river in the north – is about 100 miles of wild undeveloped marsh, river, island and estuary. Its surprising that in our modern, clanging, mechanical frenzy such a place still exists. Magic dwells in the mystical wild live oak forest of Cumberland Island. History is alive in the restored “cottages” of a by-gone era on Jekyll. St Simons Island is a gentle playground and commercial center of shops, boutiques and tony neighborhoods. Sapelo Island preserves the last wavering Geechee community and is managed by the state of Georgia as a world class estuarine research facility. Saint Catherines Island is a privately owned preserve featuring “fine beaches” seeking “to promote conservation of natural resources, the survival of endangered species, and the preservation of historic sites, and to expand human knowledge in the fields of ecology, botany, zoology, natural history, archaeology, and other scientific and educational disciplines”. Indeed.
Blackbeard Island – yes, THAT Blackbeard – has been federally owned since 1800. A quarantine station was operated there in the late 1800’s, but no development has occurred – ever. Blackbeard is as pristine as it gets. And Ossabaw Island – owned and operated for years as an artist colony, then sold to the state of Georgia to “be used for natural, scientific and cultural study, research and education, and environmentally sound preservation, conservation and management of the Island’s ecosystem.” Another gem.
I have a sailboat, a dinghy, a kayak and a paddle board. I intend to go abroad in this watery maze for days or weeks at a time and report back what I find there.
The Amazon and the Atlas bound me with gold chains in a luxury perch 23 floors above a crowded, manufactured beach. My incarceration is a distraction, a minor detour. I dream of open beaches, massive live-oaks, natural rivers, barbecue joints, yellow-green marshes and sweet, soft Georgia style.
Pullin’ hard on these chains tonight darlin’…..I’ll be home soon and we’ll go shagging on the beach in the moonlight.