SAPELO ISLAND Part 1
Tuesday February 21, 2017 Journal Entry 4
MY MUSE OFF THE COAST OF GEORGIA. Let's talk self sufficiency...
We can all stand to learn a thing or two from the close knit community in "Hog Hammock" on the southern end of Sapelo Island. When they want seafood, it's a net away - even pork and beef are at their fingertips with the wild hog and cow population on the Island. Their yards overflow with a bounty of citrus and well groomed gardens. And as if that weren't enough, they look out for one another. I witnessed this first hand, when our tour guide to be; offered to fry us fish he just caught after overhearing our snackless sob story and occasional tummy growl. To further my point a neighbor contributed to our meal with chicken rice; a well seasoned rice dish thickened with chicken, onion and red pepper. That wasn't the end of our culinary excursion, for desert we ate satsuma oranges straight from the tree as it ran down our arms like grease from a good slice of NY pizza. And the next morning we were greeted with the smoky flavor of stewed oysters and bacon over grits. From there the trip only got better--
" We don't have no police, no crime, no drugs, or politics"
To hear Mr. R Jean speak of his life on Sapelo Island is to discover what life SHOULD be. As we ride the trail to the Northern part of the Island, encountering dips that rival the infamous potholes of New York City - I gaze off into the woods. We are on our way to what was once Chocolate Plantation, and before that; lands inhabited by the "Zapala" Native Americans. This trail parts the trees that seem to go up until forever. As I narrate to myself, only imagining what life here was like I’m struck by a massive orange object in this sea of green and brown. Like a child, my curiosity drove me to only release a yelp like noise in my attempt to say too many things at once. Mr. R Jean had been watching my adolescent gaze and was prepared to answer any and every question. As I tried to describe the color and figure of what I’d just seen in our doubled vision from the movement of the truck - he answered “ that was a mushroom”. I can still hear his voice in my head, as I modestly asked if its edible…and turns out it was. He boosted me up into the next tree we saw dawned in the orange sulphuric mass. With his pocket knife in my hand I boldly stretched toward the sky - to no avail. Slipping due to my irresponsible yet very stylish shoe (thanks a lot Marc Jacobs), it was now left to my friend and photographer to step up (literally) and bring em' down. She cut into this coral shaped shroom’ quartering the most ideal piece for us to bring home.
I can still remember the initial smell of the fungus, sweet and funky like a good pork sausage.
We were off to the Shell Ring which is such an incredible part of our American history. Truly showcasing the innovative minds of the Native Americans. This structure is centuries old, and as we walked in and around it all I could do was collect bay leaves as I tried to take it all in. The salty breeze overtakes my imagination, cut in with moments of Spanish moss and cedar brought to it's knees during Hurricane Matthew. With a pocket full of bay leaves, and imagery of the water peaking through the woods we walk back to the truck changed forever.
We visited sites such as the “Behavior Graveyard” (I’ll let you ask about this story), and the Hunters Reserve where people stay to hunt the dear and wild hogs on the Island, but not the wild cows! Yes. WILD COWS…you talk about grass fed beef? Nah. This takes that notion to a new level. Only the Islands natives are allowed to hunt the cows, and when they do, everyone in the Hog Hammock neighborhood gets meat. This story was one of many that made me want to move in. This raised the question, why can't we create communities with this model, sharing and growing...are we too caught up in our own lives to succesfully mimic this lifestyle else where?
Let's pick that thought up another day...for now, lets talk food