"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads." ~ Henry David Thoreau
My regular viewers know that I have a secret place near my home that I love to frequent. In 4 years, I have only seen 3 people there and I can count the times I saw 2 of them on one hand. Mr. Paul, that's what I always called him, was the only person I saw on a regular basis. A lifelong waterman, Mr. Paul could always be found working in his shanty or coming or going on his crab boat, or just sitting at the entrance to his shanty enjoying the beauty and watching the purple martins flying around the many bird houses he had provided for them.
I loved talking to Mr. Paul. Catching him on lazy afternoons when his work was done was always a treat. He was wise beyond his years, and his love for the place whose location I have refused to divulge on this blog for the past 2 years, could be seen in his eyes and heard in his voice. We talked about the old days, weather and crabs, the marsh and the birds, and in warm weather the conversation turned to whatever bug was in season. In the winter months, when shooting weather photos for the newspaper, I would sometimes run into Mr. Paul, shown in the above photo, checking his shanty. Our conversations were short then. Mr. Paul was not phased by the cold. All his life he had hunted the marsh and worked the waters in freezing temperatures that quickly froze my bones. I would tease him about resuming our conversations when spring arrived, and he would look at this Georgia girl who could not take the cold with amusement, a twinkle in his eye.
Mr. Paul is in heaven now. but I know that sometimes when the light is just right around his little piece of "heaven on earth", and the fish are jumping and the purple martins are chattering and fluttering in and out of their pretty little homes, I'll bet Mr. Paul will be looking down and smiling.
Paul Franklin Tyler, Sr. - January 19, 1936 ~ October 2, 2010.
Condolences can be sent to Bradshaw Sons Funeral Home in Crisfield.