If you take the James Island Bridge out of downtown Charleston, you can pick up Maybank Highway. It will leap frog to Johns Island and if you follow Maybank to Bohicket Road, you come to a sharp switchback of a dirt road. The road is thick with clay and rutted in areas but a quarter mile of fish tailing and sliding and you come to a magnificent, majestic and ancient live oak call The Angel Oak. I visited this ancient tree this weekend.
I have been in Muir woods among the sequoias. I have canoed down the Suwanee River among the cypress. But this live oak is something wholly different. The way its ancient limbs touch the earth and root again, like an elbow set upon a table’s edge.
I love beauty. Beauty inspires me. Seeking beauty, chasing beauty, making something beautiful takes courage, demands it, it makes your heart fierce. I collect beautiful things, images; I tuck them away like tinker toys buried in a coffee can in the back yard, a time capsule to which I can return for inspiration. I savor them, even when I cannot dig them back up. I know they’re out there, hidden, safe and protected. Here are some of my old and new discoveries.
La Casa Azul: The Blue House, the house in blue, the most stunning display of simple, pragmatic beauty and the absolute impetus for Biddan Ridge. These pictures of Geninne & Manolo’s home in Mexico was my muse.
Verana: A small, secluded hotel in Mexico to which I have never been but dream of and will make a destination. I promise. Plus the music is luscious.
Garden & Gun magazine: When it arrives every other month, I savor it. I hoard it. I am a devourer of books and serialized TV shows but this magazine I savor, taking weeks to read fully. In it I discover things like Richland Rum. I go searching for the music of The Alabama Shakes and am mesmerized by a black girl singing and playing the guitar with such fierceness. And then there is the perfect biscuit.