A little farther down the dusty red road and you pass what I think is the finest of Phinzy's old structures. This old farmhouse has four or five nice big rooms, a couple brick fireplaces, front and back porches, and is wisely built on stilts to keep out the creepy crawlies and possibly the rising spring waters of the swamp itself. Up these steps and inside is the home of a family of bats, which is a little disarming if you're not expecting them.
I would've considered moving into the place myself, but there's a big hole in the living room and no doubt it's a little drafty in the winter. Also, there really are a lot of bugs in the swamp. Anybody that's ever walked through a cane stand (a tall grass which grows all throughout the swamp)
Anyone that's ever explored old places has probably had the wits scared out of them by birds flying around inside whatever building they happen to be in. I thought I'd pretty much gotten over that when a little, itsy-bitsy old pigeon up in the loft of the barn made me jump out of my skin. I dunno, I guess my mind pictured all sorts of nefarious-types hanging around up there, ready to pounce down on top of me. Yeah, the Phinizy remains creepy, even in broad daylight, which is just the way it should be.
Here's another barn, just off the main thoroughfare (read: the dusty dirt road) running through the swamp. A large white owl was perched inside and flew away as we approached the barn from the front. The front of the barn is your standard abandoned building wreckage. Toppled timbers, a smashed, collapsed corrugated steel roof, and plenty of rusted nails, one of which went through the bottom of my shoe but didn't appear to break the flesh . Ah, tetanus. See that cane grass in front? That's prime chigger territory. Did I mention that, for its size, the chigger is considered to have one of the most irritating bites around?
At the opposite end of the swamp, very near the Savannah River rapids, is this old bridge across Phinizy Creek. Probably the people that lived on the adjacent farms used this bridge to bring their livestock to and fro. I don't have any clue where it used to lead, other than the Savannah rapids. It's also pretty close to the airport, but I doubt the bridge was used as a shortcut to get the swamp denizens to their early morning commuter flights.
Not being from the South I didn't know what to expect when I moved there. At first I spent some time in Athens, GA, which, regardless of (or because of) its supposed rock and roll pedigree, drove me crazy. Plus, most of the south has just as many Wal-Marts, McDonald's, and Shell Stations as anywhere else in the country. However, it was while walking these dusty back roads in Augusta in the blazing heat and humidity, sweat-drenched, with not a wisp of wind blowing and only the buzzing of insects to break the stillness, that I started to get a hint of what made the south the south. It was then that I thought I could understand what Blind Willie McTell, born just 25 minutes up Interstate 20 near Thomson, GA, was singing about when he played "Painful Blues", "Death Cell Blues", and "Lord Send Me An Angel." It's tough. But here is where the heart and soul of the south is, I'd say, you just have to look a little harder now. Hard living? Certainly. Slavery and servitude? Without a doubt. But there is beauty and strength as well. And there's truth, both the ugly and the magnificent. Such truth is always worth searching out. Er, okay, then. Anyway, next time, back into town for, as Blind Willie sang, some Rough Alley Blues.