Gut Rumbles

September 03, 2009


Originally PUBLISHED September 2, 2003

I met a couple from Minnesota when I was on Jekyll Island. They asked me a lot of questions about the local scenery. I told them where to find Mars in the evening and recommended that they get a cup of coffee and walk down the the jetty to watch the sun come up in the morning.

I saw them one night and I showed them Mars, but I never saw them in the morning before the sun came up. If you ever go there, you should watch at least one sunrise.

They asked me about fall-colored leaves. I laughed. "Around here?" I asked. "Fuggetaboudit." I showed them pines, live oaks, water oaks, white oaks, magnolias and cedars, which are pretty much all the trees that inhabit that island. "They are almost all evergreens," I explained. "Go to North Georgia if you want to see leaves change."

I don't know whether they believed me or not, but I wasn't lying.

I don't know why cedar trees love sandy, salty ground, but they must because they grow all over the place down there. The wind blows constantly off the ocean, so the trees form into bizarre shapes from leaning with the wind all their lives. They almost resemble desperate, long-haired people pointing me to go "THAT WAY!!!" with both arms outstretched.

I have a secret fetish that I'll confess right now. I LOVE to break off a small cedar branch and just smell that aroma. It reminds me of Mama's attic and the time she took me up there to go through her cedar chest, where she had every baby tooth I ever lost, all of my report cards, every letter I wrote her when I was in college and stuff made from crayons and construction paper that I had long forgotten.

Cedar is evergreen because it is forever. Or at least for as long as you live. It smells that way to me.

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