Now on Durham Time

It’s different than Tybee Time. Yet, similar in the fact of stopping. This travel lark was to be too filled and too short for stopping. Yet, here I am stopped, sitting outside Joe Van Gogh Coffee Roasters in Durham, NC.


Travel to this place was long and somewhat arduous. For myself and my friend. Yet, still accomplished. Just in time for the concert, which was the purpose of the journey. 

Then we learned the concert was cancelled due to dangerous weather. 

Then all things necessary to attend the now-rescheduled concert, fell into place. Just like that. 

So we are gifted with a glorious day of doing nothing, yet doing whatever we want to do. 

Beginning with a glorious sunrise. 


And now cuppas. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the day. 


Unpacking

I’ve been unpacking for several months. Unpacking to help answer the “why” in some of my fears. Thirty-three years ago I unpacked my fear of flying.  That unpacking was filled with revelation.

I’ve seen the success of that unpacking in the fact that tomorrow will be my 373rd air travel trip. Such an accomplishment!  I’ve packed for travel near and far because I unpacked.

Currently I’m unpacking weather. Those red triangle warnings stir up more than wind or rain. Or snow or hail.  Or flood.

Flooded. High water.  High fears. High losses. High struggles.

Tomorrow I begin “the journey back home” travel.

A year and two weeks ago I fled.  We fled.  Flooded, and having taken refuge on the 2nd floor, we waited for rescue.  And it came.  It came in the form of a double-kayak.  Room for two to flee.  Not alone, mind you, rather both led by and followed by kayaks.  One pulling, one bringing up the rear.

And now, 56 weeks later, the finishing touches are being carried out on the restoration of home.  Redesigned, rebuilt, repainted, redecorated, reclaimed.

From the last night there, to the first night there.  Fitting.

Literal unpacking awaits my visit. I’m certain my soul-unpacking will happen as well.

Traveling mercies.

Blue Iris

With a move to the cooler climate some fourteen years ago, I began to add plants to the property from my childhood.  Plants I knew would grow where I now lived.  Lilac, Mock Orange, Iris.  The iris were planted along the driveway, and every Spring the iris would appear.

About 4 years ago, only the green leaves would appear.  No buds, no blooms.  Then this year one plant decided to bloom.  A beautiful white and purple bloom.  The sight of the single iris with the woods in the background, literally stopped me in my tracks. I was driving out of the driveway, saw the iris, and pulled up next to it and took this photograph.

Stunning.

Mary Oliver penned the poem, It Doesn’t Have to Be a Blue Iris.

     Praying

     “It doesn’t have to be
     the blue iris, it could be
     weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
     small stones; just
     pay attention, then patch
     a few words together and don’t try
     to make them elaborate, this isn’t
     a contest but the doorway
     into thanks, and a silence in which
     another voice may speak.”

I’m learning to pray.  Of course I’ve been praying for a good while, but not in the way I am praying these days. I feel like I’m in conversation with God.  Right now it’s not as shared a conversation as that I crave.  That’s probably because I’m better at speaking to God than listening to God.  Nonetheless, the praying conversation is off and on during each day, and at night I drift off in mid-conversation. 

As Mary Oliver reminds us, prayer does not have to be elaborate, dramatic, scene-stealing– just pay attention to what is around us, patch a few words together into thanks; with silence for listening.

A Year After

One year ago this night, at this moment, I was upstairs with Beth in her home.  We had fled the flood waters that had entered her home just minutes earlier.  While her neighbors had flooded previously, never before had she.  We watched throughout the day as the waters slowly rose and moved up the front walk and then finally into the house.



Almost last minute we set about putting as much up on shelves and counters as we had time to do.  Lots of things were carted upstairs.  Still, most of the downstairs was left to be submerged.

Oddly, the power did not go out- so we could gaze down from the balcony hallway and watch the water rise.  I recall a power cord swaying in the water, and one pillow floating. The one pillow I missed in my haste to move things up high.



Then we went to bed.  I’m surprised, now that I recall that night, that we were able to sleep.  But sleep we did.  For just a few hours.  Awakened by a phone call from a neighbor across the street, we listened as he cautioned us not to go downstairs and touch the water – because since the electricity was still turned on, we could be electrocuted.

It was at that moment we knew fear- and we knew we were in danger.

I thought I was going to die that night.

A phone call to 911 brought no help.  They were too busy to come.  A call to the power company also brought no help.

Instead, a call to the Sr. Warden, brought about our rescue.  Finding teenagers out in their kayaks waiting to rescue someone, he used one of the kayaks to lead one of the teenagers, along with a trolling empty kayak to the home. Muscling up incredible courage, he stepped into the flooded garage, and with his cellphone turned into a flashlight, he made his way to rear and pulled the circuit breaker to off. We were plunged into darkness.

He then came inside, call to us to come down the stairs.  Wielding a flashlight, we slowly felt our way down the stairs, into the water, and out the back door.  There we found a kayak-for-two awaiting us on the patio. Finding a floating lawn chair, we used it to climb in. Once secured in, the young man – his name was William – began to tow us to safety.

And with that floating motion, we both experienced unexpected peace.  The kayak moved through the water with the quiet sound of the paddles.  The water glistened. And we felt a calm wash over us. We experienced GRACE.

We were safe.

But not sound.

This past year has been such a challenge for Beth, and must less so for me.  The rebuilding has taken over a year.  In a few hours, the anniversary of being rescued will pass, but the anniversary of all the days that followed will last another 365 days.

Just as the water slowly crept up the front walk, so too, has the restoration crept to completion.  And so too, has the restoration of our hearts and minds and souls found healing and renewal.


Tybee Reflection

The afternoon hours on the last Tybee day were spent packing up, a late lunch of BBQ at a favorite out-of-the way place in Savannah. Then the airport. Drop-off as we each headed home.



I faced five hours of driving, 3 1/2 of which would be in daylight. I was grateful for Daylight Saving Time. The first hour was interstate, the rest of travel was on mostly
 2-lane roads traversing through rural Georgia.

The extraordinary colors in the sky as the daylight turned to dark simply took my breath away!

I had lots of time to recall all the goings on of the past few days, and to reflect on Tybee Time 2017.

     gentle joy
          healing
               being away
                    time to be with God, with a best friend, and with myself.

Now settled in back home, I give great thanks that once again I received the gift of Tybee Time.

Tybee Heat

All things came together for sunrise viewing today. Warmer tempature, awakened early, and resolve.

After a 10-15 minute walk, determined by number of bird sightings along the way, the glow of pre-sunrise came into view.

As we walked the boardwalk across the dunes, something else came into sight. A CAR. We were pretty certain cars were not allowed on Tybee Beach, but we checked the sign which posted all “unallowabkes”. NO unauthorized vehicles. Could this SUV be authorized?

We thought not. So a call was made to the Tybee Beach police. The woman seemed astounded to hear the car was actually on the beach. Giving her the location, we set off to walk along the surf to await the moment of sunrise.

Such beautiful images!

Contrails crisscrossing the sky.

Gulls and pelicans skimming along the water.

And the moment of the first peek of the sun.

Then a bursting of color as this new day began.

And then the police arrived.

We watched from afar as three young men were roused from inside the car and handcuffed. Suffice it to say, we moved on as we saw one being led off by the cops, and the other two permitted to drive off.

The first hour of our last day on Tybee Time started off with adventure and beauty. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day brings.  I know at the end of the day there will be parting, but the promise of return for Lent 2018 has been made.

Tybee Warmed Up

What a difference a day makes. The temperature was up to 59 degrees this afternoon. Perfect for an afternoon walk on the beach.

It was not quite warm enough this morning to take in the sunrise. That will come tomorrow.
Instead we “settled” for the early morning marsh view outside the front window.

A day to read, watch the amazing variety of birds right out front – egrets, gulls, bluebirds – and create delicious meals using the provisions we brought or purchased upon arrival. And to watch women’s basketball games on this first day of the NCAA Tournament.

Also to create postcards to send to friends and family. Handmade cards have become part of our travels, and it’s so satisfying to design cards that reflect each travel locale.

By mid afternoon, it was warm enough by our standards, to walk the beach.

In today’s devotional from The Reverend Becca Stevens, she says: “It is better to take the longer path. There is no shortcut on this journey; and it is definitely a walk, not a run. Think of it as exercising your heart muscles. If given a chance between a quick walk to the car or a long stroll through the woods, take the stroll.”

Very true. I followed those words this afternoon, choosing to walk the few blocks to the beach and back. We were rewarded with a large white egret taking flight right alongside us. It was so good to be on foot this warmed-up day.

Tybee Cold

Hard to imagine, but freeze warnings were issued last night for Tybee Island and nearby Savannah. Brr!


Nice morning view of the marsh, from INSIDE. 

So today’s plan was to do indoor activities.


We began the day in Savannah at Back in the Day for cappuccinos and seriously tasty biscuits.


Then on to Milan Day Spa for seriously amazing pedicures.



This being the start of 4 days of St. Patrick’s Day revelry in Savannah, we quickly headed back to Tybee.

We found a beautiful Healing Eucharist Service at All Saints Episcopal Church on Tybee Island, led by a recently retired chick priest from Baltimore. We were dismissed with these words: “Our worship is over, our service begins.”


Then it was time for serious eats at Girald’s Pig and Shrimp. Pulled pork sandwich and fried shrimp. Yum!


Then back home to just lol. Read. Nap. Watch the NCAA’s women’s basketball tournament selection show. I’ll be rooting for the USC Gamecocks.

This time on Tybee Island, and especially this day, has allowed my soul to catch up with my body. I’ve been speeding and hurrying in my daily life, rushing even.  The beauty of Tybee Time is that it both allows me, and calls me, to slow down.  To stop.  To find a slower rhythm of my days.  Time to reflect.  Time to chat with God.  Time to just be.  Then when I leave this place, I will have gone far toward the restoring of my soul.

Tybee Cool

It’s unseasonably chilly on Tybee Island. Cool enough to do a morning rollover instead of getting up to walk several blocks to get to the beach for sunrise. Tybee time is about rest, though, so that worked.

A lovely slow start to the day. Reading and pondering how to respond to today’s #40 Acts Stewardship challenge. Today’s invitation was Real Fruits.

Who could you creatively gift today? Do you know someone who’s struggling with money? Put their need first and treat them with what you have. That could be dropping off some supermarket vouchers, or taking them out for a meal/movie on you.

Before I read these words, I had already offered to help a ffriend with airfare for a trip she wanted to make. A trip that would offer her a place of retreat.  This gave me pause, having responded to today’s challenge before I knew it. 

I did eventually get to Tybean, local coffee house. It was originally a Kickstarter project. I would have been a backer if I had known about it. It’s a luxury to find good espresso drinks without having to leave the island. 

Of course I responded to this Stewardship opportunity. 

Eventually it was warm enough to walk the beach. 

I was struck by the patterns along my walk. Thinking about the patterns in my life. 

The textures of my life are as varied as the patterns seen on my shore walk. Such variety makes up who I am and how I live my life.  There are smooth and jagged pieces. Also pieces of intricate design. Together they shape my life and my intentions. As this day comes to an end, I intend to send a donation to the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, a commitment to the pattern of ongoing support for those who respond to the hungry.


Ah….Tybee Time

After stops and starts along the way, I made it to Tybee Island. I was never certain I would make it here this year, until I crossed over the Bull River onto the island, and then a few minutes later turned into the Bluebird B&B.

At last. 


After “monstrous” unpacking (gotta bring everything you think you could possibly need when choosing non-luxury accommodations), we settled into dinner by sunset. A salad of fresh local greens, Irish cheddar, 3-cheese black pepper bread and sparkling water was a feast. 

Toward the end of sunset we did Evening Prayer;

“Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God.”