Sunday, February 21, 2010

Canine Enchanted

We were cruising up Highway 61 this afternoon and connected with Highway 165 just below Summerville, SC. We like to survey such open land and wooded tracts as remain for us to admire these days.

On 165 there's a road widening project for many miles with thin brush buffers left between that road and the subdivisions soon to come. It's all over except the shouting and the uptake of ticky tacky for that portion of 165. It will be expensive and the houses more artfully angled to scatter the effect of regimentation, but ticky tacky is ticky tacky and up it goes. Developers often stage what they call a dog and pony show before regulators or concerned neighbors to facilitate their plans. This show appears to have worked well.

There seemed no need to spend more time there than it took us to pass this ugly spot in the road. It was a very nice day, one of those promise-of-spring afternoons. 165 cuts through what it still relatively primitive territory and seeing more of that and less of civilized tracts gave the nice day back to us. We rolled down through miles of countryside so unspoiled that the few wretched dwellings along the way could not diminish the view. Crossing Highway 17 into Ravenel, taking Towles Road at Hollywood and Church Flats Road through Meggett brought us to Yonges Island.

Yonges Island has the good fortune to be interrupted frequently by marshes on which no one may yet build. What isn't wooded is open, sunny and salty. You get a sense of protected space down there so that development feels like a foreign war on a distant continent. Just before the end of 165 we noticed St. Mary's Catholic Church and pulled in to get a better look. Once out of the car we could barely make out the figure of a dog barking and charging toward us from far down a dirt road. When he got very close to us he suddenly turned and quietly faced the shrine for no apparent reason. We couldn't figure out whether he was protecting the church or was just as overwhelmed by the peace and quiet of that spot as we were.