Dauphine Island: Beth’s Travels on the Bartram Trail #26

Take a moment to listen to my reading aloud of William Bartram’s Words, from William Bartram’s Travels.

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Driftwood and Shell on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson

Driftwood and Shell on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

Beaches luminescent in moonlight…

Ahhhhh, a semi-tropical island on the Gulf of Mexico in the Spring. In my mind’s eye, I can see those clean-swept beaches, luminescent in moonlight, blinding in the noonday sun. Here and there are shells to be discovered, half-buried in the sand. The birds take up residence on the sheltered landward side of the island, protected by sea and surf. Children play wildly in the surf, with relaxed and doting parents looking on.

Birds Landward on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson

Birds Landward on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

The Line of the Horizon….

My gaze rises to the horizon line, out across the blue blue sea, the gentle swells, and encounters an oil rig. Looking closer, the horizon is dotted here and there with these black-barred structures, pumping out the oil that powered my car on the drive from Georgia.

Oilrigs on the Horizon by Beth Thompson

Oilrigs on the Horizon by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

The Price of Dependence…

The I turn my gaze to the beach in front of me, I find the rigs disconcerting, what with the destruction wrought by my dependence, and my society’s dependence on oil. Before me is a tree carried to the beach by the waves, my father walks along out of the surf, but I take a picture of the gentle foam swirling around my bare feet.

My foot in the sea by Beth Thompson

My foot in the sea by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

A bit of black…

My father is finding shells as the oil rigs hover about my awareness. Then he brings me a bit of black stuff, with sand and shells embedded in its surface. We realize it’s a bit of oil, hardened into a nearly stone-like substance, tar dried out, washed up on the beach of Dauphine Island by the motion of the sea, released into the environment by the works of man.

Driftwood in Perspective by Beth Thompson

Driftwood in Perspective by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

A narrow spit of land, exposed to the elements…

If find Dauphine Island eerie. The beach wanders along the seaward side of the island, and the island becomes more and more narrow, so that we can easily walk back and forth from the seaward and landward sides. The birds have found safety on a spit of land cut off from us by water, I photograph them from a distance. There are few people around; the island seems mostly deserted. I realize that the beach environment is incredibly harsh, even without the oil, all salt water and sun-baked sand, desert-like.

The View Landward on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson

The View Landward on Dauphine Island by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

Seashell after seashell…

Back at home, I cannot find the bit of black tar I meant to scan an image of. I look everywhere. I find seashell after seashell, but the tar is lost in my house somewhere. I look through my pictures of Dauphine Island and choose one to work with. The forced perspective, the couple walking ahead in the distance (only visible in the larger prints), the sea and the foam and the sky. I give you this Possible Perception of Dauphine Island.

Dauphine Island Possible Perception 6048 by Beth Thompson

Dauphine Island Possible Perception 6048 by Beth Thompson. Click on the image for a larger view and to order prints.

 *Opening stanza from “The Slacks” by Trip Shakespeare.

This entry was posted in Beth's Travels, Possible Perceptions, Possible Places, William Bartram's Travels. Bookmark the permalink.

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