Back and At’Em

Handmade Blog is back!  I had planned on putting up many more clues, pictures, and clever and heartwarming posts but a vacation is a vacation, after all.  Here’s one more clue to the location:

It is very humid, very hot, and the streets have names like Calhoun Suggs Lane.  Yes, we were in the Deep South in Charleston, South Carolina.  I like being places that are very different from home, and the swamplands of coastal South Carolina are different indeed.  We saw an alligator, drank in air so humid it made your eyeballs sweat, and cycled past oak trees festooned with Spanish moss.  In the South it is a special kind of hot in the summer.  When you turn on the cold water tap in the kitchen, it runs about 85 degrees.  You don’t need to ease into the ocean, you simply walk in until you’re up to your eyebrows, then wait for your core temperature to slowly drop.  Swimming pools are like Japanese baths, and sweating straight though your clothes takes about two minutes.

As you’ve already seen, spiders are the size of Frisbees, and the example on the previous post was a banana spider.  Amazing!  Except after spotting that first one I found another, then another.  Then looked up and saw a five-foot diameter three-dimensional funnel web above me with an eight-legged inhabitant the size of a trashcan lid.

Besides the terrifying arachnid population there are other-worldly plants and vegetation here.  Living in Southern California you get used to the idea that green things come from water, which in turn comes from a pipe.  If it’s not irrigated, it’ll soon be tan straw.  In the Deep South, everything grows, and it lives to eat something else.  Locusts chirred, frogs twanged, and Spanish moss thrives on just the rich organic muggy air.  All this humming life in deep forests, swamps, and mudflats suggest a peculiar and mysterious history that is closer to daily life than elsewhere in the world.  Maybe it’s the old houses and the relentless assault of nature against man’s constructions, but the lowlands feel separated from the past by only the most flimsy gauze.  On the quiet cobblestone streets of Charleston I expected to hear the clatter of iron carriage wheels and the huffing of tired horses.  In the dim gray-green forest I thought I might come across Native Americans crouching through the underbrush hunting wild boar.  And then there are places like this that spread forward and back in time, unconcerned with the lives of humans that flicker like fireflies before the coming storm.

This week I’ll be looking at some of the more interesting handmade things I found in Charleston, ones that haven’t (yet) been devoured by spiders, overtaken by vines, or swallowed up by the swamp.  We’ll also look at the delightful world of cross-country flying with a “spirited” toddler.  Welcome back!

Writer, architect, father, husband.

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One comment on “Back and At’Em
  1. Cristina S. says:

    Ah…you should have put in one more clue so people could keep guessing!

    It’s good to be home. That weather literally left me feeling like a wilted piece of lettuce.

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