Marsh Memories

Driving over the Cosgrove tonight and the tide was out and the wonderful scent of pluff mud and coastal marsh swept through the car.  Every year when my grandma came to see us she would tell me how she disliked that smell. To her it smelled like ~something died~ to me it smells like the renewal of life.

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These coastal marshes teem with life. Small crustaceans, crabs, shrimp, fish, wading birds, plants, trees, and the teeming abundance of the waters.  The health of the marsh is a good indicator of the health of adjacent ecosystems.

photo by Bob Hider

Driving or strolling the boardwalks along the edges of these wetlands is an unending source of joy, appreciation, and inspiration.

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Pluff mud and Lowcountry marsh….smells like home.

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Shine on Harvest Moon

The moon is full…it was breathtaking last night…Harvest Moon 2017

…..even more so as we were walking tonight… 

Aedin glanced up, caught a glimpse through the trees and stopped in his tracks. A few strides further and it revealed itself, full, golden, ripe with the promise of autumn.

A blessing to share such moments. They imprint beauty into our souls.

 

 

Walking into Wednesday

Today started with an extra fun bonus… it was Walk Your Kids to School day. An effort to encourage our children (and a whole lot of parents from the looks of it) to get out of the car and get some fresh air and exercise.

We parked about a mile from the school and joined a group of other parents and kids headed for the elementary school. A few minutes in it was obvious I have raised a ‘real’ walker as he grew impatient with the casual strolling surrounding us. What is the point if you can’t stretch your legs and get some energy pumping?  Got to admit, he had a point.  After I dropped him at the school, I got to walk back alone…and minus the constraints of escorting the kids…I was off and power walking the way the kids and I have all their lives, even when they were in strollers.  I cut across to avoid trampling those enjoying a more leisurely pace,  got to enjoy the cool autumn air, see deer grazing in the cemetery, egrets wading the edge of the marsh, and celebrate the joy of just being alive.

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Afterwards, it was off to my friend’s house for a bit more landscaping…and rolling her huge room size oriental rug and carrying it outside, where it was unrolled for a good cleaning prior to her parents’ arrival for a visit.

The rest of the day sped past in a flurry of menial but unavoidable errands but tonight is warm, peaceful and quiet.  I finished it with a nice long walk under the full moon.

Life is good.

Loving Eucalyptus

In the front corner of the new yard there is a huge and very old eucalyptus tree. No, not the kind with smiling koalas slowly munching leaves from drowsy perches, but the wonderful, small leaved variety that grows so exuberantly here in the Low Country.

The bark is shaggy, peeling, rough and gorgeous. It makes a statement all on its own.

The peeling bark of the Eucalyptus

Couple it with the narrow, fragrant green foliage and it presents a graceful tree for the lawn or border. Ya gotta know though, that gorgeous bark means it is basically self mulching….and there is a lot of bark. Another bonus? That spicy eucalyptus aroma… adored by most people, and repellent to most insect pests.  Thank you, eucalyptus oil.

The big one out front is home to myriad and varied birds, as well as providing strong branches for a handmade birdhouse and bird feeders, and a small platform that serves as a makeshift treehouse for the kids. It weathered the hurricanes this year without issue and has quickly become a family favorite.

Today a friend gifted me with a start from her own big eucalyptus. A few years and it will become a new bird sanctuary in this overly busy bit of urban landscaping, a welcome, gentle respite for our birds and tree frogs, a cool place of dappled shade welcoming all.

Glad you are here, little tree, grow strong. Welcome home.

Eucalyptus Pauciflora 'Bonza' Eucalyptus Tree

Rain, rain….rat snake!

Raining her in the Lowcountry.  Like, really raining!  The first night there was thunder that shook the house, flashes of lightning to often, large, and close they lit up the house, and even a heavy, if short, hail storm.  We got up at 5am to the street flooded over a foot deep from one side to the other.

The storm kept me up all night…the boys woke up and peered outside and said, “it rained?”  Sigh.  Boys.

Because the water is always deepest right at the end of our driveway the boys came and went on their bikes from the second drive at the end of the yard (actually it is a glorified patch of gravel, sand, and leaves)  It was there they encountered the second of our much loved reptilian residents….our black rat snake.

Gorgeous! Right?  I love that we have so many kinds of reptiles here…and a fine assortment of amphibians as well, but that is a topic for another day.

We have anoles, both our native Carolina (green) anole

  but also the introduced Brown anole

We have Fence Lizards, the only spiny lizards native here  species photo

And of course an abundance of snakes, turtles, tortoises, alligators…the list goes on and on.  It is a great place to raise kids…so much to explore, so many amazing animals to appreciate and love and protect.

I was tickled and delighted the boys came up to the house thrilled about finding the big rat snake out in the rain, making his leisurely way up the magnolia tree, where the thick leaves will provide some protection from the storms.

Looking forward to seeing him again one lazy afternoon, basking in the morning sun.

Friday Fun and fantasies

Another gorgeous Lowcountry Friday.  Sunshine, perfect temperatures (at least for this summer loving girl), breezes off the ocean, and so many flowers in bloom it is hard to pin down a single fragrance to love the most.

The frogs are in full throat.  The anoles are courting madly.  And the big snake that likes to frequent the back porch is just huge this year.

Have I told ya’ll about the snake?  Big one, as big around as the three year old’s wrist, loooong (as in when the back is twined around the limbs of the bush beside the door, the front end is already curled inside and down along the leg of the desk inside the door), so probably about 4′, and totally gorgeous.  When we saw it coming inside the first time this spring we were afraid the kids slamming through the door might hurt the snake…so we slipped it’s tail off the branches and let it slide on into the porch and out of sight.  Next time I saw it, it was headed out of the porch under the door… I happened to open the door and there it was.  So I knelt down and gently caressed it’s back and down it’s tail.  It paused, raised it’s head and looked back at me for a long time as I continued to stroke it.  I told it what a lovely animal it was.  Then it sort of ‘shrugged’ (if snakes had shoulders, lol) and slipped through my hands and went about it’s business.  Now when it sees me, it doesn’t slither away but waits to see if I am going to stop to pet it or not.  I think we have an understanding.

I also think it is a female…and quite possibly gravid, based on just how heavy it has gotten.  Won’t that be exciting?  Lots of little snakelings racing about the yard?  😀

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now for the fantasy part… the lovely reptile reminded me of my current wip… and the drachen that live in that world.  Not ‘dragons’ in the sense we, especially in the West, think of them but actual reptiles and coming in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and habitats …as most species do.  Some have no legs, some aquatic, ones with wings have only two as the forelegs have become wings (no six-legged reptiles here 😉   Nor do they spit fire, although they can be fearsome creatures…particularly some of the larger ones…they are also intelligent and fiercely loyal.

I rather like this one, although the one I am most partial to in my story has ram-type horns (as some dinosaurs did) dragon wings defense - Google 検索:

What do you think?  Would you like to share your world with the drachen?

 

FLOWER MOON

Change is coming.  I can feel it in the air.  Hear it in the breeze.

So close and real it is palpable. As if, if I knew the exact moment, I could reach out and grasp it…

     …like the moon…

The Full Flower Moon is upon us. Smiling from a star-filled sky.  It is a most appropriate name this time of year.  Even more so, it seems, this year.  The air is perfumed with magnolia and jasmine, wisteria, roses, and sweet tea olive.  

Things are changing.  Something new appears each day.  New butterflies join with newly opened blossoms. 

New migratory birds drop by to add their beauty and song to the spring chorus.

Much is the same as ever it has been. Frog songs. Spanish moss festooning the ancient live oaks.  The beauty of a new full moon shimmering over a peaceful sea.

Some things change.  This Flower Moon sings a new song and leaves me wondering what this change brings.