St. Phillips Church began construction in 1756 and was finally completed fourteen years later. It was used in earnest by the coastal community of Brunswick for about a decade; it fell victim to British torches during the American War for Independence. The little river-port town the church serviced would not survive another war. The town was abandoned after falling to Union forces in the final year of the American Civil War. The area is now an archeological and national historic site lying across the Cape Fear River from the city of Wilmington. Brunswick, North Carolina USA now exists as a town only within the pages of history books and vivid imaginations.
These days find me contemplating the prospects of moving household from one side of the state to the other. I can only laugh at myself when I consider the raw nerve necessary for so many thousands who traversed the Atlantic in leaky boats to carve out a life for themselves and family in a place that bore little resemblance to the land they once called home; to encounter real life-threatening adversity, and perhaps to feel more than once that all was lost, that the world had turned against them. I can imagine how subconscious fears buried in European minds found real substance, surfacing as marauding predators and enigmatic natives, accidental injury and ever lurking disease. Whether seeking personal wealth or religious freedom, were there prevailing winds of doubt when all found themselves set adrift and wondering if God cared in the slightest or maybe didn’t exist at all. Under such conditions, it isn’t hard to imagine how desperate settlers might become to believe that God still remained, even if only within the scarce confines of four brick and mortar walls. The wilderness surrounding them seemed a Godless expanse for violent agendas, but there remained a refuge in which to gather and at least for a moment to know a reprieve.
How sharp might be their exclusive need for an all powerful protector as to cut away the fat that was a God of Love? How convenient was it to see devils in the stead of those indigenous people living in harmony with the land; how tempting might it have been to borrow just enough of their practices until the land could be tamed and ‘the savages’ made expendable? How relentless was our toil purging our new home of all insidiousness, felling the great trees to build homes and churches, and driving away the heathen hordes? Did anyone notice how the ones that remained among us seemed stricken with a sickness no ‘modern’ doctor could name, an illness without apparent symptoms, one that simply washed away their will to live; was it just one more of the many diseases we brought, one more less lethal to us than to them? And when the dust had cleared and the borders secured we were a land of walls. God could only be found within four walls….or so we believed. I wonder if way deep down we as a people don’t believe this still; I wonder at the terrible and unknown wage we’ve paid to justify this belief. Regardless of this, I’ve come to find that for all the dark and limiting beliefs I can harbor, there is a way of letting go; there is the way of forgiving myself. There is compassion, kindness, and mercy for anyone of us who wants it. ©2012 Miles A Moody. All Rights Reserved for this written and photographic work. Reproduction not permitted without written permission from copyright holder.
Nikon D90, 70 mm, F/7.1, Gitzo Tripod, Bogen Head, CP filter, HDR2 processed in PS CS5 from three images 0, +2 and -2 EV.