Sunday, October 19, 2008

Continuing Explorations of North Georgia

In my continuing adventure as a circuit riding Methodist minister, my family made a "little" (NOT) detour to Washington, Georgia in Wilkes county today. I've don't ever remember being in Washington before, but I know that my family has ties there: some distant cousins, I believe. I do know that in the 1970's my dad bought up a huge load of bricks from the old Washington ice house. It had been built before the Civil war and so you could still see things like hand prints in the bricks and know that they probably were made by slave labor. I would look at those bricks and imagine a life for that person. Daddy made a huge monolith of a fireplace out of those bricks -- 3 flues and 3 stories tall. There is a family story about how Jeff Davis' fabled Confederate Gold was stored in the ice house, but I don't know that it is really true. In fact, there is supposedly a vault under one of the buildings around the square that contained the gold. It is one of those things that the veracity will never be known. But it is still a thing to think about, to dream about, to imagine.

We passed by the Washington Wilkes County airport. I remember this airport well. One of my first solo cross country flights was to this airport. It just happens to be exactly 51 nautical mile from the old Stone Mountain airport. One of my parishioner's grandparent's house was used for the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) until just very recently. Directly across the road is Callaway Plantation. It is frankly beautiful. I found an old picture on the net and it's directly above. The city of Washington was given the property, has restored it and is now operating it as a living museum. I love the architecture. I think I will go back sometime soon and take pictures.

Washington's square is lovely. It reminds me strongly of Abbeville, SC. I can't wait to go back and explore more. I know these things are not new -- they are just new to me. I am sure generations of architecture buffs have admired the beautiful symmetry of Callaway Plantation's Greek Revival architecture. But it is indeed new to me. I still dwell in the thought of these hand-made bricks; of the glimpse of the slave cabins just behind this lovely brick building. I think of tabby cats and tigers: of how bricks can be used to build or be used to break glass windows.

What else are we just not aware of that is there for us to discover? Things that are old and beautiful, but are new to our eyes? Things of grace and wonderful proportion, with fearsome and awesome symmetry? Things perhaps frightening found within their beauty; maybe even vicious as was slavery; things that have hopefully found atonement and redemption?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

What beautiful and gracious thing lays just around the corner?

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