A respite from winter

This past weekend, I went with a group to Edisto to stay with a generous friend who had invited us all down.

We were a group of nine women, and we had a wonderful time together.

olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddA few of us were gathered on the screened porch overlooking the canal drinking hot tea and listening to the twittering of birds. There is a group of gourd birdhouses hanging near the porch, and a good deal of activity was going on.

It looked like two couples of brightly colored birds, but I didn’t know what they were.

At first I thought Eastern Bluebirds, but after getting the binoculars for a close-up view, it was clear these little birds were something else.

So, we looked through the field guide to birds and found they were buntings.

They are beautiful birds who look as though the rainbow wrapped itself around their little bodies.

They were very busy, chirping, flying away, then returning and going in and out of their gourd homes.

Their feathers reflected the bright sunlight, and it was a pleasure to be able to watch them.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday, and we were able to go to Botany Bay Nature Preserve and explore.

The marsh is all around the area, and the river bounds the land on one side. Spanish moss cloaks the ancient live oaks.

There is a pond on the land, where we spotted a floating log. Or so we thought.

The pond was covered with green scum, and the log had an irregular, somewhat bumpy, appearance.

Then it moved slightly.

“It moved. It moved.”

We were excited. I got the camera and zoomed in on the log and found it was not a log at all. It was the head of a fairly large alligator.

He didn’t seem at all interested in us, but we were very interested in him.

I got one good head shot.

As someone wisely pointed out, where there is one gator there might well be more. I also remember reading that a gator is capable of lunging 20 feet out of the water, and this made me a little nervous.

We left the gator and walked about half a mile to the beach, which is as untouched as it was in the 1700s. The guide on the beach said the shoreline has eroded about one mile in a hundred years, but by placing large felled trees along the edge, the shore line has regained about 50 yards in a decade.

There were a variety of shells, but people aren’t allowed to remove them from the beach. However, people had hung conch shells on the bark trunks of Palmetto trees. We did the same. I suppose it was like placing our flag on the shore to mark that we had been there.

I took off my shoes and walked along the shore line. The water wasn’t all that cold, and the feel of wet sand beneath my bare feet gave the illusion of summer.

We were so lucky to have been given such a beautiful day right in the middle of winter. What a gift. And the memory will remain imprinted on our spirits and will help get us through the remainder of the winter. Thank you to all the wonderful friends who made this such a memorable experience.