Settling in...

Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying "One should avoid talking overmuch about the weather." I tend to agree. I have to say though that my arrival in Savannah was the coldest day of the year here. It was cute to see all the people bundled up in their parkas and scarves on a 39 degree day. I walked around in a sweater and jeans and just laughed my head off.

I don't know what you have heard, but Savannah is a breathtakingly beautiful place. The apocryphal story is that Sherman was so overcome with the city's beauty that he decided not to burn it. The truth is that by the time Sherman got to Savannah, there was no reason to destroy it. That - plus an aggressive restoration movement - accounts for the richness of architecture here.

There is a gothic sensibility to the place that fuels rumors that it is haunted. I don't believe in ghosts, but I do believe in the sheer weight of history and this place really has it. I walked by the Savannah Cotton Exchange building and noticed that there were plaques everywhere about what person had done what where. There was even a plaque commemorating the invention of the cotton gin. But there was no plaque indicating that Africans and African-Americans were sold as chattels on that spot. Now there is a river walk, bars and restaurants, little shops and all that kind of stuff in the area, but if you look, you can see the brick staging areas where auctions were held for everything from pecan pralines to people.

The longer I stay here the more these incongruities will be revealed. I am hoping that they are influencing what I am doing here, just as I hope I have some lasting affect on the people I meet and teach.