June 18, 2018

Hilton Head Trip Log

Sun: Had Fr. Ferrell at Mass and he gave a moving homily, relating his personal experience of becoming a Christian in his late 30s and how his friends criticized and strongly discouraged his becoming a priest. He said Mass with much reverence and I like him the more I see and hear him.

He said something about how he’d wanted to live for something larger than himself to live for and my mind went to Anthony Bourdain and his suicide. Fr. mentioned how fragile and changeable our emotions are and again I thought of how Bourdain was described as “giddy” a couple weeks ago and morose for the three days leading to his suicide. Perhaps manic-depressive. I recall how G Gordon Liddy said he couldn’t listen to certain kinds of music and how Bourdain was listening to the mournful “House of the Rsiinn Sun” on loop a few days before his death. Sad and shocking.


Then come 1:30 I did my obligatory run in the 88 degree heat, a labor of non-love but got it done. Maybe 2 miles all together. Surprisingly the beach was cool, much cooler than expected. I almost thought it was going to be a balcony day. Read some of The March, the novel about Sherman’s march, while partaking of light session “all day” beers. Yum.


Sunny, cloudless, with reports (retorts) of rain in C-bus. We picked a good week!  Wordsworth:
Yea, all the adamantine holds of truth...
Her spirit, must it lodge in shrines so frail?
He mused —upon these chiefly —and at length,
His senses yielding to the sultry air.

Read delightedly of the ‘70s memoir Sting Ray Afternoons - it's funny that there in Minneapolis he had neighbors he referred to as the "McCarthy boys" and another neighbor family "the Richardsons".  Sounds like ours Also read some of the Peter Hitchens’ Rage Against God.


Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.

Funny how songs of the way distant past come back during days lounging in the June sun. Today came a cross between the folkish bluegrass “Chicken Pie Song” and “Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands Together” childhood ditty.

After breakfast headed out on a bike ride on 278 towards the farm market but only did about 6 miles. Then to beach for an abbreviated session - the rains came heavy at 2pm, just as the Dark Sky app predicted. Allowed me to get up to the place warm and dry with a minute to spare. The rains had staying power, 2-5pm. By the time it was sunny just stayed in condo and had Bloody Mary's.


Walked with Steph on the beach for morning mile.  Come 3:30 clouds and rainstorm; the lifeguard whistles at me to come in out of water. But a satisfying day at beach nonetheless.

A tray table came that we'd had delivered via Amazon and planned to hang from our balcony.  Steph promptly dropped hex nut off balcony, tumbling into grassy obscurity. I wasn’t going to hunt for it given she dropped it and pessimistically assumed it was lost. It was. But it worked out for her benefit - went to hardware store named White Dog and met an instant friend - the owner is a dog lover extraordinaire and they talked dogs for at least a half an hour while Steph loved up the flat white Pyrenees dog that has many physical characteristics of Max, Max being part Pyrenees. Same paws and snout. But super laid back and a hefty but right-sized 135 lbs.

Later, saw three bucks (deer) feeding next to beach for first time.


Saw on internet:
“Say not I am too young” is a phrase that reminds us that wisdom is aligned to charity (as St Thomas teaches:), not to age.”
That’s a pretty concise description of why there are a decent number of saints in the Church who died at a young age since wisdom is a function of charity, not chronological age.

And a tweet from a bishop regarding a Dorothy Sayers novel:
An older Lord Wimsey anticipates George Smiley in some ways:
“Tell them to bring up a bottle of Scotch and a siphon and some beer, for malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to man.


Feel like I’m getting my sea legs! Late start for sure. The cumulative effect of books and beer and 9 hours of sleep a night. Kind of wondering why I’m so slow to relax this time; I suspect work agonies.

As the song goes, which I played on loop this morning,”Don’t Try to Live Your Life inOne Day”. Also some great “Turning Japanese” while doing a mile beach walk before Mass, arguably the greatest pop song of all time, ha.  Overcast a.m. before sun resurrection around 10am. Read a bit about whom some say was the greatest horse never to win the Derby, the philly Zenyetta. Didn’t mature in time to do the Triple Crown races.

Delish breakfast using our new tray table hooked to balcony railing. Yum.
On beach by 10:45, soaking in the rays in surprising privacy. Early June seems less crowded than August week.  Wondrous 4 hours there that went by in 3.5 minutes. Read some, cigar’d some, did nothing some.  ‘Round 1pm did my run, a strong 2.5 miles that shows I’m improving in fitness down here, at least running fitness.

Thanks to the magic of the Dark Sky rain we missed the rains by a few minutes, a good opportunity to head back up to hydrate and lunch.


I did a 7pm bike spin down to the Hilton Head Academy and back just before dinner. I’m not sure Steph appreciated my departure while she cooked, but I’m feeling the loss ... of vacation time.  Quiet desperation has set in, a desperation for beauty.

After dinner did an 8:30pm, walk. Still light outside.  Oh, beguiling ocean! It mesmerizes... Walked to the live band at the Holiday.  Meanwhile the sea continues its ceaselessness, the show that must go on. An old, fat couple sits at the edge of the water in chairs, wordlessly watching the waves while there’s still light to see by, as the young folks stream by.

I feel a longing for more time outside in this “midsummer’s night madness” (is there such a condition and could I have it?). There’s a world of difference between Thursday morning, when all is right with the world (i.e. two full days ahead) versus Thursday eve when the “sudden death” of Friday’s last day approaches.  We have a spaghetti dinner with corn on the cob and salad.


Lounged the morn; to beach by 11am and off on bike around 1pm to the Stables to see the great horse Harley. And so his huge head was admired and feted.

Rode through the painfully beautiful cathedral-groves; tall southern pines that make one gasp in wonder, surrounded by Secretariat-red needle beds. All on a picture perfect June day, the apotheosis of season married to the apotheosis of place.

Back at the condo I immediately discover the iPhone I’d put in my back pocket had popped out at some point during the 8 mile ride. Thank God for “find my iPhone” app. I was able to track the location of the phone via my iPad deep in the heart is Sea Pines. (The guard at the entrance had pity and didn’t make me pay $5.). I parked in somebody’s yard hoping not to get towed and went on foot for about a half-mile. I saw the phone lying in the street, grist for a car, while meanwhile a car is coming! I rush out in the middle of the street like a madman holding up my hand in the universal motion of “Stop!” and then save the phone from destruction by seconds. All in a day’s fun. Technology, the cause and solution to many world problems.

Read another 20 pages or so of Jonah Goldberg’s absorbing history lesson.
Some historical fiction about Thomas Jefferson as well.

In retrospect it seems like a vacation’s purpose is simply to give you that Thursday morning moment that confers that all-is-right-with-the-world feeling, that expanse of sheer-dom and do-nothingism that in its best moments leads to poetry.

I felt it, for maybe an hour, a respite and a clock negator, my moment of zen or bliss or rumspringa.

Sat: Neat to see some of the rural Southern coast, from Beaufort to Charleston. Woke at 6am and by 9:15 our bags were checked for 10:30 flight. Smooth handoff of rental car. Felt a little nerve-racking time-wise, oh me of little faith.

Drove by Parris Island Marine base; later stopped to get gas and saw jaunty old black man with Marine cap pull up in motorcycle looking like maybe a part-time drill instructor.

The flights were painless - just one hour long each during which I consumed multitudes of the Secretariat book. Just love the dawning realization of the wonder horse they had on their hands after the Derby. Sort of reminds me (in an opposite fashion) of the dawning realization that Hillary lost the election, and how her team and her affiliated media (CBS, NBC, ABC, etc..) were affected.

By the time we Uber’d home it was just 3pm - earliest arrival ever after Hilton Head thanks to the friendly skies. By 4 we were picking up the dogs and Steph saw Sharon and the facilities for the first time. The dogs went bananas seeing us (and each other). They were clobbering each other even before being let out of the gate.

Lots of drama with the dogs later; I noticed Maris eating grass. I thought it odd she was doing it in the middle of the yard and I got more suspicious when it looked like she was pawing it. I went out there and Max followed me since he doesn’t let me out of his sight.

He breaks into a sprint and I realize he realizes Maris had discovered Fort Knox - it turned out to be a nest of at least a half-dozen baby rabbits. They all looked dead; Maris had made quick work of most of them. Max took one and went off a short distance to eat it while I hustled back to the house to get a plastic bag to collect them. By the time I got back and started gathering them, Max had finished eating the one whole and grabbed another. I tried to spray him with the hose but he simply relocated to the back corner of the yard. I finished gathering and disposing of them, then came back out. About five minutes later I see Max suddenly getting low and stalking Maris. This was unusual; normally he does that with dogs he doesn’t know and wants to fight with. He then raced towards her and turns out she’d found a new baby rabbit that apparently had made it not quite to safety. Max now ate this third one.
Hours later the dogs were still visiting the scene of the crime, like slot machine winners who think that by playing the same machine they’ll win more money, or in this case baby rabbits.

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