Exploration and Discovery

I receive promotional emails from “Wales Cottage Holidays,” with seasonal graphics and a greeting in Welsh. It made me nostalgic for the time Wayne & I spent there in the early 1970s, when he had a job with a large architectural firm with an office in a small seaside resort town on the south coast. Since then, we've been back several times to visit, to introduce our children to the landscape, the language, and the culture. It was a formative period of our young adulthood, and will always have a place in our hearts.

One day recently as I drove to Auburn for a Fellowship social event, it occurred to me that when I return home to California in June, our experience here will also hold a cherished place in our memory. Since I became an Alabama voter to participate in the special senate election in December, I feel even more at home. So dedicated and hardworking are the Alabama citizens I have come to know, that remembering them will help sustain my hopes for our country. As Birmingham colleague Jennifer Sanders posted on Facebook on election night, “...everywhere all over Alabama, little blue dots erupted with hope and joy.” I will now always think of the South as festooned with blue dots, blooming and growing.

The photo gallery below begins with our drive to New Orleans via Mobile last June. For Wayne's most recent visit in February, we planned a short road trip to Selma, to the Rural Studio, and to downtown Birmingham. We enjoyed Mexican food in Greensboro, barbecue in Marion, and urban gourmet cuisine at the Birmingham Museum of Art cafe. The airbnb ante-bellum mansion where we stayed featured a Victorian furniture collection which was not at all comfortable, but the bed was decent and the screened porch had wicker chairs more conducive to relaxing with the twilight birdsong.

I'm sure we won't have exhausted the opportunities for pilgrimage and exploration in this region before I move back to California, but we're doing our best!

 Washington Square across from our lodging in Mobile's historic Oakleigh neighborhood

Washington Square across from our lodging in Mobile's historic Oakleigh neighborhood

 Downtown Mobile streetscape features several murals.

Downtown Mobile streetscape features several murals.

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 Dauphin Street

Dauphin Street

 Brunch at "Five," whose menu has just five entrees for each meal

Brunch at "Five," whose menu has just five entrees for each meal

 Stuff to read while waiting in line for the restroom at Wintzell's Oyster House, where we had dinner on Father's Day

Stuff to read while waiting in line for the restroom at Wintzell's Oyster House, where we had dinner on Father's Day

 We took a guided tour of Mobile's Carnival Museum—their tradition predates New Orleans' Mardi Gras.

We took a guided tour of Mobile's Carnival Museum—their tradition predates New Orleans' Mardi Gras.

 Logo of the History Museum of Mobile is based on this metalwork.

Logo of the History Museum of Mobile is based on this metalwork.

 The museum's permanent collection features the "Friedman Miniature House Gallery."

The museum's permanent collection features the "Friedman Miniature House Gallery."

 The collection includes this replica of a house in my Opelika neighborhood...

The collection includes this replica of a house in my Opelika neighborhood...

 ...just three blocks away!

...just three blocks away!

 Whitney Plantation, west of New Orleans, gives visitors an idea of the experience of enslaved people. This wall is engraved with text of oral histories gathered as part of a WPA project, when survivors of the system were still around to tell their stories.

Whitney Plantation, west of New Orleans, gives visitors an idea of the experience of enslaved people. This wall is engraved with text of oral histories gathered as part of a WPA project, when survivors of the system were still around to tell their stories.

 Art installation representing the terrible consequences of attempted escape

Art installation representing the terrible consequences of attempted escape

 Waiting in line for the rest room at Napoleon House, New Orleans

Waiting in line for the rest room at Napoleon House, New Orleans

 These fist-sized carcasses were not what I was expecting when the menu said "chilled shrimp" (Grand Isle Restaurant and Oyster Bar).

These fist-sized carcasses were not what I was expecting when the menu said "chilled shrimp" (Grand Isle Restaurant and Oyster Bar).

 Demonstrating in support of immigrants at Heritage Park

Demonstrating in support of immigrants at Heritage Park

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 Exhibit Hall mural at General Assembly

Exhibit Hall mural at General Assembly

 I stopped to rest (and talk on the phone) inside the "Red Tent" between the Women and Religion and UU Women's Federation booths.

I stopped to rest (and talk on the phone) inside the "Red Tent" between the Women and Religion and UU Women's Federation booths.

 Solar eclipse on the Green at Auburn University, August 21st

Solar eclipse on the Green at Auburn University, August 21st

 Pretty close to totality

Pretty close to totality

 Someone had had these made and passed them around, just for fun.

Someone had had these made and passed them around, just for fun.

 For sale at "Angel's Antiques and Flea Mall"

For sale at "Angel's Antiques and Flea Mall"

 Football season tourism is a mainstay of Auburn's economy.

Football season tourism is a mainstay of Auburn's economy.

 Local businesses cater to fans of both rivals

Local businesses cater to fans of both rivals

 Sultry late summer sky

Sultry late summer sky

 Symposium and field trip with AU historians to Pasaquan ("visionary art environment"),  in Buena Vista. GA

Symposium and field trip with AU historians to Pasaquan ("visionary art environment"),  in Buena Vista. GA

 Catered picnic, southern cuisine

Catered picnic, southern cuisine

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 The house across the street

The house across the street

 Dogwood, in the fall...

Dogwood, in the fall...

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 Leaves will fall, buds stay on bare branches through the winter...

Leaves will fall, buds stay on bare branches through the winter...

 see? and they survived unusually low temperatures this season.

see? and they survived unusually low temperatures this season.

 Art installation over people mover at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport

Art installation over people mover at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport

 Parts of it had animated images—magical!

Parts of it had animated images—magical!

 As election day approached, I saw more and more Doug Jones lawn signs on my walks around town.

As election day approached, I saw more and more Doug Jones lawn signs on my walks around town.

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 Winter sunlight in the afternoon

Winter sunlight in the afternoon

 The Fellowship hosted a vigil remembering the victims of Sandy Hook, five years ago Dec. 14. 

The Fellowship hosted a vigil remembering the victims of Sandy Hook, five years ago Dec. 14. 

 Sunday afternoon at Uncle Roy's. He's an artist, and also part of a band, the "Electric Rangers."

Sunday afternoon at Uncle Roy's. He's an artist, and also part of a band, the "Electric Rangers."

 "Yes we can"

"Yes we can"

 Family in town for Christmas—a visit to the new Center for Civil and Human Rights, then the gift shop at the Coca Cola Museum, Atlanta

Family in town for Christmas—a visit to the new Center for Civil and Human Rights, then the gift shop at the Coca Cola Museum, Atlanta

 Walk at Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, Auburn University

Walk at Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, Auburn University

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 Gold leaves in the undergrowth glowed in the bright overcast light.

Gold leaves in the undergrowth glowed in the bright overcast light.

 Jane led the Gingerbread Oak Alley project.

Jane led the Gingerbread Oak Alley project.

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 Montgomery, Civil Rights Memorial by Maya Lin—it was so cold, they had had to turn the fountain off.

Montgomery, Civil Rights Memorial by Maya Lin—it was so cold, they had had to turn the fountain off.

 House across the street, January 17:  everything  stops here on a snow day.

House across the street, January 17: everything stops here on a snow day.

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 Sunlight magically captured by AUUF's steeple

Sunlight magically captured by AUUF's steeple

 "Festival of Lights," annual tradition in St. Augustine

"Festival of Lights," annual tradition in St. Augustine

 Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos

 Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagler College

Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagler College

 On the grounds of Fort Mosé Historic State Park and National Historic Landmark outside of St. Augustine: under Spanish rule, a haven for refugees from slavery in the British colonies

On the grounds of Fort Mosé Historic State Park and National Historic Landmark outside of St. Augustine: under Spanish rule, a haven for refugees from slavery in the British colonies

 St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum

 Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg—excellent docent-led tour

Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg—excellent docent-led tour

 Reception area of the Retina Specialists of Alabama in Birmingham

Reception area of the Retina Specialists of Alabama in Birmingham

 We hosted another vigil on February 16 for the victims at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The Fellowship has strong connections with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

We hosted another vigil on February 16 for the victims at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The Fellowship has strong connections with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

 FDR's "Little White House" in Warm Springs, GA

FDR's "Little White House" in Warm Springs, GA

 Calloway Gardens

Calloway Gardens

 National Park Service Lowndes Interpretive Center—halfway between Selma and Montgomery

National Park Service Lowndes Interpretive Center—halfway between Selma and Montgomery

 Brown Chapel AME Church

Brown Chapel AME Church

 Edmund Pettus Bridge, heading toward downtown Selma

Edmund Pettus Bridge, heading toward downtown Selma

 National Voting Rights Museum, Selma

National Voting Rights Museum, Selma

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 Office, farm, and greenhouse of the Rural Studio are across the road from these design-build projects. Students built it all, including window frames and furniture.

Office, farm, and greenhouse of the Rural Studio are across the road from these design-build projects. Students built it all, including window frames and furniture.

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 We got a tour of projects in Newbern from staff member Natalie, along with another visitor.

We got a tour of projects in Newbern from staff member Natalie, along with another visitor.

 Antioch Baptist Church outside of Greensboro

Antioch Baptist Church outside of Greensboro

 Perry Lakes Park features a number of Rural Studio projects.

Perry Lakes Park features a number of Rural Studio projects.

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 Birdwatching tower

Birdwatching tower

 Martin Luther King was taken to this house in Greensboro when his life was threatened in Selma (a short drive away). Rural Studio designed its adaptation to history museum.

Martin Luther King was taken to this house in Greensboro when his life was threatened in Selma (a short drive away). Rural Studio designed its adaptation to history museum.

 Lions Park playscape created from metal barrels given to Rural Studio by a large company that would otherwise have paid to dispose of them in landfill. Students also used them to create a passive solar heat storage system for their greenhouse.

Lions Park playscape created from metal barrels given to Rural Studio by a large company that would otherwise have paid to dispose of them in landfill. Students also used them to create a passive solar heat storage system for their greenhouse.

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 Oscar's at the Museum—excellent lunch

Oscar's at the Museum—excellent lunch

 Ceiling installation over our table at the cafe: Untitled (Styrofoam Cups) by Tara Donovan

Ceiling installation over our table at the cafe: Untitled (Styrofoam Cups) by Tara Donovan

 Dale Chihuly, "Persian Wall"

Dale Chihuly, "Persian Wall"

 Sushi sauce dishes in the museum gift shop

Sushi sauce dishes in the museum gift shop

 Bodhisattva of Great Compassion

Bodhisattva of Great Compassion

 Rural Studio installation

Rural Studio installation

 "The children of Birmingham made an impact on the world": banners throughout the downtown area commemorate the Civil Rights movement.

"The children of Birmingham made an impact on the world": banners throughout the downtown area commemorate the Civil Rights movement.

 Azalea buds on my back porch

Azalea buds on my back porch

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 AUUF's campus from across the parking lot, toward East Thach

AUUF's campus from across the parking lot, toward East Thach