Cumberland Island has been on my mind a lot lately. I recently told the story of my trip there and realized I never finished writing it down here.
The island is what brought me to Georgia in the first place. I wanted so badly to get away, to go somewhere I'd never been. I thought of New Orleans or somewhere along the gulf coast but that seemed a trip better taken with friends who knew the way. I was travelling alone and I wanted to be somewhere deserted but safe. I wanted peace not fear. Mostly I wanted to go a few days without talking more than necessary in a place surrounded by beauty. I started looking up state and national parks. My requirements were simple, someplace warm, someplace beautiful, someplace when all was said and done wouldn't cost me more than $500 for transportation, room, and board. I found it. One $130 plane ticket to Jacksonville and a rental car later, the island was mine.
Initially I had made a reservation at a hotel but KP told me about the Hostel. As soon as I showed up I cancelled my hotel reservation and signed on for two more nights in the forest. But I've written about that magical place and I want nothing more right now than to be huddled in a screen porch high up in the trees reading by candlelight in my bunk. It is the ultimate place for solitude but would be equally as enchanting with a lover or a few friends.
But the island! Cumberland Island! And that cemetary in St Mary's! In the town where one catches the ferry there is a cemetary so old Revolutionary War veterans were buried there. I spent two hours in that cemetary while I waited for the ferry and drove back the next day to photograph even more. When I was small I went summer camp out in the Nebraska countryside. Near the campgrounds there was a cemetary where pioneer settlers had buried their dead. We would do rubbings of the tombstones, many of them markers of the graves of children who had died at the same age we were then.
This cemetary had a special section where all the graves of children were grouped together, it was particularly eerie.
"Baby Peanut" With God
A lot of Civil War veterans were buried there and a group had placed Confederate flags by the graves of those who had fought for the South.
The cemetary was the most beautiful, serene place I went to that entire trip aside from the island itself. It was draped in willow trees. An lazy long expanse of brick, grass, and stone. It was here I felt the a measure of the soul of the South - quiet, proud, and sad with a dose of the arcane.
But the island...oh the island! It was a comin' up fast.