Cycling through South Carolina’s Low Country for a second straight day brought more diverse scenery and more heat. Early on, we benefited from the shade of trees on shrouded roads, and then bore the wrath of the hot mid-day sun later in the day. We cycled along stretches of road surrounded by swamp and bogs, causing us to wonder what lived within, and speeding us on toward more familiar surroundings. Logging trucks with tree-length sticks roared by, spreading the pleasing aroma of freshly cut trees and providing more than enough room to calm our nerves. The red flag on the longest log flew well beyond the trailer, threatening to scrape the ground should an untimely bump cause the load to shift. Periodic fields of tobacco were reminders of an entrenched economy unable or unwilling to loosen its grip on those whose health is willingly exploited. Historic markers from the mid-1800’s and a predominant black populous are also reminders of the slave trade of yesteryear, and struggles to overcome its fallout to this day. We witnessed rural poverty, with old, ramshackled abandonned houses and buildings, and some that were not abandonned. Outside several convenience stores, a small group of black men sat passing the time, enjoying one another’s company under the shade of the community tree, with stumps for chairs. One could envision a game of cards taking place, or whatever the game of choice in these parts would be.
We moved on with a supportive tailwind, which helped to make our ride easier and more comfortable as the mercury pushed toward 100. The flat roads and courteous motorists cooperated as well. It seems no one is in the same hurry that our neighbors to the north usually are. The pace is relaxed–perhaps it is the heat, perhaps the rural settings. Wherever we’ve gone in this state, people go out of their way to greet us and sincerely provide us the assistance to get where we are trying to go, regardless of whether we ask for it or need it.
We can all take a page from our South Carolinian hosts. Their pace and desire to help reveals their servant hearts. The world would be a better place if we all had more of that attitude.