The drive from Atlanta to Serendipity was quick and full of glorious green trees. It might be cold, but spring has definitely sprung in the South East. The color saturates everything and you can smell it in the air.
Turning off the road and onto the Serendipity property, I was instantly greeted by several dogs and the South Carolina Regional Contact, David Peters aka Phyrebolt.
Sparky is in charge. He might be small, but he is mighty and is the first to run off to chase deer, say hello or let you know something is happening out there.
I quickly learned that Serendipity is an animal sanctuary, a place for abandoned and abused critters to come and be safe and live. The most frequent guests are dogs and the property is filled with long dog runs and also boasts a pond full of fish. This has been a preserve and sanctuary for so long that nobody has fished in the pond for 15-20 years! The animals feel safe here and are very comfortable around the people who have been caring for the grounds for so long.
The grounds are full of old buildings and cabins sprinkled throughout the 25+ acres. There is a swamp and trails through the woods and around the pond, giant dogwood trees are in bloom. An old pet cemetery is a quiet reminder to the sweet animals who have passed here over the years. It is quiet and peaceful with the occasional ratatattat of a woodpecker enjoying the dead trees in the swamp.
Dogwood in bloom.
An easy thing to do when surrounded by nature.
A small group is gathered next to a building dubbed the Love Shack. It’s one of the original buildings on the property, nobody is quite sure just how old it is. It has become the club house and gathering spot for people when they camp here. Fire staffs and fans hang outside, shiny tinsel decorates the roof – there is no doubt that Burners and artists spend a lot of time here.
This is the home of Element. The South Carolina Regional Burn.
As evening falls, we light up the fire pit and more folks arrive. By nightfall there are a dozen of us gathered together around the fire.
BJ was really happy when we finally got that fire going.
We sit around the fire laughing and swapping stories about Regional Burns, learning the history of Serendipity. A pot of chili simmering away next to a big kettle of steaming shrimp and oysters. The radio is cranked up, playing a disc from Big Daddy from Florida. It isn’t long before fire toys come out and we’re given a show to Oooo and Aaaa at. Someone brought peeps (hey it’s Easter!) and there was great joy in roasting them over the fire, their little marshmallow heads oozing and popping.
Hoot brought Souse – a true Southern treat. 2007 is going to be his first visit to the playa.
Phyrebolts puts on a show.
As the evening comes to an end, our bellies full and our cheeks reddened by fire light, we say our goodbyes as people head back to Columbia and home to get ready for the work week. Those staying behind stoke the fire the last few times and prepare to bundle up for the night. The Love Shack provides a cozy shelter from the cold of the night.
Inside the Love Shack, couches and arm chairs and a toasty fire make for a perfect spot to bunk for the night.
Such a peaceful place, it’s no wonder Element is proud to call this home. In two short weeks, these grounds will be full of Burners from all corners of the South East as they gather to celebrate fire, nature and friendship. I’m sad that I can’t be there with my new friends but incredibly thankful that I got the chance to spend some time in this beautiful part of South Carolina.
Next stop: Wilmington, North Carolina and a visit to Bash and the Juggling Gypsy.