New Year's Day is my favorite holiday. I love a clean slate. I prefer mornings over the night for the same reason. Nothing is out of sort, no one has hurt my feelings or pissed me off and there is a very real possibility for goodness in the hours to come. The indigenous people of Sapelo, the Geechee Gullah, have a name for the precious seconds just between the dark night and dawn…they call it "Dayclean"
Before Thanksgiving I spent four days on Ossabaw…a barrier island off of the coast of Georgia. It is a place that is absolutely Southern and mysteriously exotic at the same time. It feels otherworldly. Ancient. Sacred. I'm not a great traveling photographer...I choke. I was there only with the hope of coming back a better person. To be honest...I have sunk over the last six months to a place where I have completely lost faith in humanity. Not just the world…given current events that wouldn't be surprising. I've lost faith in my own world. And that's a heavy thing to wake up to every day.
So there was this particular afternoon on Ossabaw where we were working our way on foot to a specific area and a huge chunk of land had been washed away. We were a hot mess trying to get ourselves across this gully with our gear. We managed but it wasn't pretty. We made photographs for awhile and then headed back for the treacherous path to the truck. As we approached the gully we could see that our caretaker had quietly left us shooting and ran back to construct a make-shift bridge so that we could cross with ease. He had laid palm fronds in the mud, stretched wood from one side to the other with a found piece of styrofoam placed underneath for support and then had posted a walking stick into the mud…up high so that we could grab onto it as we made our way across. Caretaking. At it's finest. Thinking of what we would need to be okay without a word. I thought to myself right there in that moment…here is kindness. Here is respect. Here is generosity.
I'm hanging on to that memory with all my might. I'm hanging on to that awareness in spite of the contradictions that are before me on any given day back here in real life. There are good people in the world. I'm looking for them. And I hope they're looking for me.
I'm grateful to my traveling companions Anne Berry, Ann George and Meg Griffiths.
And to our caretaker Mark Frissell. who changed my mind.
Here are my favorite images from my beloved Ossabaw.