I’m back in Savannah, enjoying one of my favorite cities – and enjoying my returning strength. Though I still can’t stand or walk for long at a time, this city’s historic district is perfect for me because all of the squares have benches. So I can walk and sit and walk and sit and walk. This rainy weather makes the sitting damp sometimes, but so far I’ve been out long enough after the rains that the benches have mostly dried off, and I can sit for a bit without getting too damp.
I had a couple of doctor visits at the end of last week because of poison ivy or poison something that I got on my hand at the base between two fingers. I don’t know where I picked it up. Somewhere in nature. Apparently my immune system is still not up to speed, and my body gives in to allergic reactions more easily. I’d only had a couple of mild episodes of an allergic reaction to a plant before the cancer treatments. But this time, I ended up with steroids and prescription hydrocortisone cream. Which are doing their jobs of controlling itching and getting rid of the blistering. And they really came in handy yesterday. . . .
I decided to head out to Bonaventure Cemetery to revisit some of my favorite statuary. Along with Little Gracie and Johnny Mercer’s grave (see photos below), I stopped by to photograph this angel. I remember photographing it when I was in my 20s, but then its wings and hands weren’t broken. Vandals have gotten to this angel and handicapped it a bit. I think it’s still a beautiful angel, though. On my way out, I decided to drive down to the river area. I saw what looked like a good photo opportunity of the bridge at Thunderbolt and was walking into a small field to get a better shot. I did notice lots of ant beds, some of which were the big fire ant beds. I was careful not to step on any of them.
Or so I thought. When I got to just the right spot, I was lining up a photo and felt a pain on my foot. I looked down to see my feet covered in ants. And, of course, I had on sandals. I dropped my camera and frantically brushed ants off my feet and pulled off my sandals. I finally got all of the ants off and grabbed my camera and left. When I got to the car, my feet were really stinging. Those ants weren’t too pleased with where I chose to stand. Luckily, though, I was already taking steroids – and I have hydrocortisone cream – so amazingly, the 30 (yes, 30!) stings haven’t hurt or itched since the initial stinging. After my magical time last week with animals, this week has been one in which I’ve seen the other side of nature. The one that can inflict pain. But modern medicine provides some helpful remedies for that painful side of nature, and for those remedies I’m certainly grateful. They allowed me to have a wonderful time last evening with friends and to be out this afternoon, meandering around some of the historic district.
I started with Gaston Street and wandered over to Abercorn, enjoying the variety of historic homes and architectural styles.
I didn’t have a goal in mind, so I was delighted to find myself just down from J Christopher’s. For years I’ve wanted to eat there but never could time it right since they’re only open until 2. But today I was walking by just at the end of Sunday brunch, so I ducked in, choosing inside over the Liberty Street sidewalk tables because it was terribly muggy. Air conditioning is a blessing, and iced coffee made the perfect cool-down drink. After enjoying the J Christopher’s brunch, I got my feet back on Savannah’s sidewalks. That’s the best way to see this city. Walking. Slowly. With an eye out for the gems Savannah has to offer.
I took Abercorn to Oglethorpe and headed over to Bull Street, the street that’s the center of the historic district, dividing east from west. Today was a kind of mixed weather day, one of clouds, then sun breaking through, then more clouds, and finally some rain. The steeple of Independent Presbyterian catches my eye every time, and the sky is often a part of why.
This photo shows the steeple with the breaks in the clouds as well as the clouds that wanted to bring rain. The rain clouds ended up winning, but I was nearly back before they did.
Since I was about to walk through Chippewa Square, I had to get a photo of the place where Forrest Gump’s bench sat. It’s such an iconic place in American society. I mean, who has not seen the movie Forrest Gump at least once? The actual bench isn’t at the square but is instead at the Savannah Visitor’s Center, but this is where the movie production company set the bench. There aren’t any bus stop benches on Savannah squares. The production company installed a bench – and also had the buses run clockwise instead of the usual counterclockwise traffic direction around the square. Aesthetics are important in movies.
I felt the breeze pick up and smelled rain in the air, so I ended up hustling back through Madison and Monterey Squares. Well, I somewhat hustled, because I did stop for more photos. It seemed that everything got more defined, like HD, just before the rain started. This square seemed so clear, so sharp. And then it started drizzling. So I put away my iPhone and headed for shelter.
This has been a really enjoyable trip. I’ve not walked far because I don’t have stamina yet, but that doesn’t matter. Savannah offers so much beauty in just a few blocks. You just have to look. And feel. Because the air can be thick, so thick with humidity that it’s like a blanket. And smell, because there are fragrances, like these lilies that pulled me in on the day that I arrived. As any city, Savannah has its gifts. It’s a city that shares them best when you are on foot, walking through the squares or peaking into a garden gate or sitting on a park bench, watching the Spanish moss drift with the breeze.
And I’m one lucky person to get to enjoy this all. Just four months ago, I was wiped out by my last chemo treatment, unable to walk even a hundred feet – and completely bald, too. Now I can wander around Savannah, several blocks at a time. And I have a little hair. Not a lot, but it’s growing. Yes, it’s gray and white when it was mostly brown before the chemo. And yes, the back is curly when it was only slightly wavy before. And yes, on Friday, some man at the top of some steps at a house near the cathedral yelled to me that I needed a haircut. I just laughed and said that when my hair grew some more, I’d get one. Because I really don’t mind having just a little gray and white hair. Because after all I’ve been though, I’m happy to have some hair. And a little stamina. And to be able to get out to a beautiful place where I can be stung by ants. You see, it’s all good now. Even what used to be bad . . . . . well, it’s good. To be alive and able to travel and to walk and to be with friends and to take photos and to eat (and actually taste) meals. Going through cancer treatments has given me a different perspective. As I said in previous posts, the treatments helped wear away some rough edges in my personality, so now I laugh more easily and appreciate more. Savannah gifts being some of that appreciation. And I can be on my ant-stung feet walking, taking it all in.