Amber and I had talked for a long time about taking a ladies’ weekend trip somewhere since we don’t get to see each other too often during the year. We finally made that happen in September. Back when we were brainstorming a trip, we considered all kinds of mid-size cities across the country, but we both ultimately were charmed by Savannah, Georgia, thanks to the rave reviews from our friends who’d been there and tons of random internet strangers.
And you know me and my thing for Southern gothic. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
So, we set off to meet in Savannah in mid-September and had a really lovely time. The weather cooled off just enough in the middle of our trip to make our numerous walks around downtown pretty spectacular. We both were hit with some pretty gnarly allergies while there (is it the junk hanging from the trees or what?), but we just Kleenexed our way through town and met lots of ghost hunters and seekers, and encountered more fantastic folk art than in any other place I’d ever traveled. I love a city whose inhabitants so obviously love and value the visual arts. And I love a place where the living residents cede so much of their narrative to the stories of the dead.
Here are some photos from the trip. Full album can be viewed here.
My first in a long time. So I wrote it down.
“‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.
“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”
Consider that this is coming from a man who millions of people will soon watch on their televisions every night—if only there were a way to measure the virality of this, which he’ll never say on TV, I imagine, but which, as far as I can tell, he practices every waking minute of his life.
The next thing he said I wrote on a slip of paper in his office and have carried it around with me since. It’s our choice, whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. “At every moment, we are volunteers.”
I’ve been in Nashville three years now and I still miss growing my own flowers. There’s nothing keeping me from it, really, except time and money. I’m real short on both these days. Some day I hope to get back to having my own little flower beds and array of potted beauties that will collect the morning dew and sit still while I point my camera at them in the early morning light.
At least I get to hang out and get close to the lovelies in my mom’s garden when I visit. Remember the Friday Flower feature I used to post here ages ago? Here’s an honorary addition, thanks to a trip to Saltillo last weekend:
“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
— Corrie Ten Boom