The southernmost inhabited sea island in South Carolina, Daufuskie is a two by seven mile speck between Hilton Head and Savannah. There’s no bridge. We depended on a one o’clock ferry ride but missed it when our four-hour drive became ten hours due to idiots cutting each other off and causing wrecks. I should have been on a condo balcony overlooking a deserted beach and the Atlantic but instead was getting to know my fellow Americans as we traversed mile after mile a few inches at a time.
Sandy roads meander beneath Spanish moss hanging from big branch old oaks resembling upside down tarantulas. Small deer sneak around nibbling and there’s raccoons, alligators, and other critters but few street lights and so, when the moon and stars are absent, the color of the night is called Daufuskie Dark. You get used to it until the next morning when a three-foot snake skithers across the boardwalk, cutting you off on your way to the beach. Then, the next night, you become unused to how dark it is on Daufuskie.
Next, after Daufuskie Dark, you discover Daufuskie Quiet. It comes early in the morning when you’ve brought a chair to the shore and watched the sun come up then sat listening with your eyes closed they way you like to do sometimes when people are singing in church. With your eyes closed, you hear more. Hear wider and deeper.
Still, you won’t hear Daufuskie Quiet until opening your eyes again. It is then you realize you needn’t keep them closed to hear the sound of your own soul. When you see the vast ocean napping at an uninhabited strip of sand beside a piney forest, you discover just how very much alone you are in the yin/yang loudness of that silence.