Friday, May 04, 2007

A Sunrise, Sunsets, and a Cemetery

Sunrises and sunsets are so different in different parts of the country. We spent a bit of time watching and waiting, trying to catch just the right shot. The first night in St. Simons, we headed to the beach for some sunset watching. I managed to get a couple of good ones (or maybe DC took them for me, I can't remember!)


A couple of nights later, on the way home from St. Simons, we caught this sunset. It was very intense because of the fire raging in the Okefenokee Swamp area.

The last morning, DC and I got up at 6:00 to catch a sunrise. We hadn't had a chance to do that yet. We stood on the beach, staring east, thinking maybe the cloud cover was going to prevent our seeing it. Finally, the beautiful ball of fire began to peak over the horizon. It was 6:50, and it was worth the wait!


The full day on St. Simons Island was spent engrossed in history. The Beloved Invader was the first book Eugenia Price wrote about the island. She immersed herself in the island and its lore. Many of the people who lived there when she moved in the 1960s from Chicago were descendants of the people in the novels. Anson Dodge was a very young man of 19 when he first fell in love with the island. He was from New York and was engaged to a beautiful young woman named Ellen. She died, probably of food poisoning from unwashed grapes in India, on their honeymoon trip. Anna Gould had been in love with him from the first day she saw him. She eventually became his housekeeper. He finally realized her worth and value and love and made her his wife. They had a child, who was killed when he was thrown from a buggy and hit a catalpa tree. So sad!! They eventually opened a home for orphaned boys, but it didn't come to pass until Anson died at a very young age of 38. Anna was such an unselfish person that she honored his original desire to be buried with Ellen. They are buried in the same plot with his mother next to them. Next to his mother was the baby, then Anna on the end.

I was so busy looking at the lizard on the Resurrection Fern around Anson and Emily's grave that I neglected to get a picture of it! Go figure.
Here is Anson's mother's grave.

Anna and Anson Jr.'s graves


I was able to locate James Hamilton Couper's grave - he was James Gould's dearest and longest friend. I couldn't find others I was looking for, and didn't have time to take the tour.


I regret that we didn't get back to see the inside of the church (below as it is today). It was virtually destroyed by the Union soldiers who used it as housing during the war. They desecrated the altar when they butchered cattle on it. The remainder of the entrails and hooves and bones were still there ten years later when Horace Gould returned to the island after their forced removal from their homes (chronicled in the second book, New Moon Rising) . The soldiers also used the church furniture for firewood, when there were hundreds of trees right ouside in the woods. Anson Dodge restored the church with his inherited money, and pastored the flock until his too early death.


I distinctly remember, when we were reading the trilogy as young women, that the theme of our Redeeming God came through loud and clear. In fact, it was the one thing I remembered. When I reread the series, I kept looking for that theme. It finally was very clearly articulated in the last few pages of The Beloved Invader.

"Sometimes she (Anna) felt that everything her husband believed was based on the simple fact that God will not waste anything if we give Him a chance to redeem it. . . 'He is not only a Redeemer of our sin, but He is a Redeemer of our circumstances as well. He will not waste a single problem, a single heartache, a single tear. Our God is a Redeemer God, and He stands minute by minute before us, inviting us to let Him have the sorrow, to let Him have the pain, to let Him have the disappointment. To trust Him to make something useful, something creative of every tragedy that darkens our lives.' . . . in the haphazard of earthly life, God worked in and through the joys and tragedies, always making redemptive use of everything: not causing either joy or pain, but using them."

I LOVE these words. They resonate with me throughout everything we have gone through as a family. God is using Heather's and Kelli's situations. He's using Kev's and my story. He is using Kristen's and my story.

Kev and I will be writing Part VIII after he finishes final exams next week. It's hard to imagine that this school year is over already, but it is. Graduation for my students is a week from today. Then the cycle begins again.

I hope I am not taking too much time and space talking about this trip, but it was so meaningful for me. We'll be on Cumberland Island next time. I haven't forgotten my randomizing by Groovy Old Lady!


Susie said...

I'm enjoying this trip you took too!
The sunrise/sunset photos are truly breathtaking!

Yellow Mama said...

Georgeous pics...God's artistic renderings!

Linda said...

I am enjoying taking this trip with you Dawn, The sunrise/sunset pictures are just magnificent. Doesn't the Lord do things well?
It is so neat to see those places Eugenia Price wrote about. I really like the fact that she based her characters on real people.
That quote can certainly apply to all of us. It is so wise and insightful. I know for myself - when those dark times come I just want out. But those are the times God is using to do something amazing in our lives if we will just trust Him.
This was such a treat Dawn.

Jungle Mom said...

Eugenia Price is my favorite! Oh thank you so much for posting this!!

Tammy said...

This story you told was so that is all true and Eugenia Price made it into a novel?

And the photos are just beautiful!

So much fun to take this "virtual" trip with you, Dawn!

Linds said...

I am also on this trip with you, Dawn, and I love all the photos and detail. I am absolutely fascinated by all the new places and stories I am seeing.

CaraqueƱa said...

Beautiful sunsets and sunrises...can't figure out which I prefer. That story of Eugenia Price's is so moving too. I read her set of biographies a couple of years back, but I've never read any of her fiction. Thanks for sharing!

Barb said...

Some people make a trip like this and come back with a few photos. You come back with all these beautiful photos and some really interesting history - it's wonderful. Almost, but not quite, as good as being there with you.

We're all pretty excited about the school cycle since Aaron will be beginning the cycle in August. I hate that they're moving away but I find myself thinking, the sooner they go away, the sooner they'll be back home. I've decided to bequeath the title of surrogate mother on you while my kids are there - I know you'll take good care of them. :-)

Dawn said...

Regarding Barb's request above - I am thrilled to be Aaron and Mandy's surrogate mom for two years. The students call me Mother Dawn or Den Mother already, so it fits. I can't wait to meet them!

Morning Glory said...

Beautiful pictures of the sun!!!

Brenda said...

Gorgeous photos! I'm so glad you could make the trip. It does seem like it's been longer than a week since we met!

Thank you for sharing the quote. I really need to keep that in mind.

Have a blessed weekend!

groovyoldlady said...

I've never read those books...Are they historical fiction or biographical? (I have a sinus headache right now and am easily confused.)

PEA said...

Such beautiful pictures...the sunrise pictures are just breathtaking!! The colours are so vibrant!! I'm so enjoying hearing about your trip and I would have enjoyed walking through that cemetery as well. Finding the gravestones of people talked about in Eugenia Price's book would have been so exciting! xox

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Oh I am enjoying this very much! the photos are just awesome!