Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Some stories aren't better left unfinished
I finished telling you about the island but I never finished telling you about the forest. It's been nearly a year since I went down to the Hostel in the Forest on the outskirts of Brunswick, Georgia. It was my first trip down south and hopefully not my last. I haven't been back down that way since although I hope to change that soon.
I already related the basic stories of hostel life, from Jim the Mountain Man to the kindly staff. I neglected to mention Jim had an aversion to knowing the time saying that it enslaved us and also sported a Burning Man tattoo on his arm. Such details are important. Let me show you the way round the forest of dreams...and I'll let my inner hippie shine (drum circles are still off limits in my mind.)
Here are some details I neglected:
I was terrified of the outdoor shower. So terrified I avoided showering until my last day there when I was so filthy from my island excursion I had no other choice. It was amazing even though the water smelled of sulpher. I really wish I'd done it more than once. The water was steaming hot and the view of the quiet forest was holy and serene. I don't have too many opportunities to commune nakedly and privately with nature, in fact I believe that was my only one, so it was an experience to be cherished.
The toilets were a slightly less terrifying and extremely more necessary hurdle. I'd never heard of sawdust compost much less used it. From the photo above you can gather the basics of how it works. Still, pissing in a hole and covering it up with sawdust takes some getting used to. However it is infinitely less gnarly than an outhouse and actually smelled quite neutral. The pleasant gnomes and elves painted on the walls and the mosaic and stained glass work made it a lot easier as well.
My favorite thing about wandering the grounds was that there was something to see every place you looked. The gifts left behind by travelers over the history of the hostel were still in place. Trinkets here and there, a well placed dream catcher or skull. Not just feathers and runes, although I am a sucker for both. There were island shells and notes and beads and so much more.
This was my window inside the Pool Hut (picture at top) where I stayed my second and third nights.
The Labryinth was the most magical spot on the grounds. Let me give you a tour.
I am ready to go back to the island and the hostel, but unfortunately it won't be on the same dates, as I have no money for an end of November joyride. However, I am faithful it will come soon, perhaps when the weather first starts to warm although I do want to avoid college hippie spring break mayhem. I'd rather drive than fly this time and am open to company. This trip was so valuable to go alone the first time, it doesn't have to be solo the second. It was a memorial pilgrimage in part, to honor the memory of my friend Stefan, a series of coincidences put me in his favorite place in the world (the hostel) on the anniversary of his passing. One can surely understand the sacredness of making that trip alone. I was afraid at first of the hostel because of that association, not sure if I could handle it emotionally. But my memories kept me warm instead of keeping me scared and for that I am thankful.