Low Visibility, Endless Possibility

Foggy days are the ballads of the weather world.  They make me move slower, think deeper, and feel more.  Living among waterways, ponds, and the ocean, these mystical fronts are not out of the ordinary, especially in the colder months.  Last winter, the Lowcountry was graced with a particularly foggy day following an Atlantic storm.  My mom and I decided to walk the beach to see if the rough waters had deposited any oceanic treasures.  (Earlier in the year, the day after a particularly vicious meteorological disturbance, we found an abundance of perfectly intact conch shells littering the sands.)  Unfortunately, the limited debris tossed upon the shore this winter's day was of the man-made variety.  Specifically, a lone piece of multicolored driftwood sat beached upon the sand.  

 
Path to Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC

Path to Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC

 
Driftwood washed ashore on a foggy morning at Kiawah.

Driftwood washed ashore on a foggy morning at Kiawah.

Driftwood close-up.

Driftwood close-up.

That piece of wood illustrated one of my favorite features of fog: its mysterious nature.  The driftwood lay there silently asking countless unanswered questions.  I wondered where this wood began its oceanic journey?  How did it acquire its layers of aqua, brick red, mossy green, and carnation pink?  To whom and to what did it once belong?  A boat?  A dock?  A barn?  And where were its companion pieces?  Of course, upon discovery of such a scrap on a sunny day, I might have asked myself the same questions.  Yet, there was something about the fog that heightened my inquisitive nature. 

 
 
I really love fog. It hides you from the world and the world from you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothing is what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you any more. Its the foghorn I hate. It won’t let you alone. It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you back.
— Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey Into Night
 
Bridge at Kiawah Island.

Bridge at Kiawah Island.

 

In the fog-filled wintry weeks ahead, I look forward to discovering new, intriguing curiosities.  Until then, I'll find myself viewing these photographs with the same nostalgia as listening to a memorable ballad on repeat...

Botany Bay: The Beach

Botany Bay Plantation is not your typical tourist attraction.  Located on Edisto Island along the Atlantic Ocean, this Wildlife Management area features a maritime forest, historical structures, a picnic pond, salt marshes, and a shell-filled beach.  It also happens to be the filming location of the Gullah village/wedding scene in The Patriot.  

Your first taste of natural beauty comes as you thump down dusty Botany Bay Road.  Sun filters through the dense trees lining each side of the dirt lane.  Spanish moss hauntingly drips down from the branches above, like ghosts inviting you to discover this secret sanctuary.  As you slowly approach the visitor station, you already feel transported to a primitive world.  

 
Botany Bay Road

Botany Bay Road

 

The park volunteer gives you an interpretive driving map that provides informative tidbits about the sites around the Plantation.  Although marked as the last stop on the tour, many people choose to visit the ocean first.  After a short walk on a path through the wetlands, you approach the water's edge.  Aptly referred to as a boneyard beach, this particular sandy strip is littered with uprooted trees and beheaded palms; a result of beach erosion.  

 
Boneyard Beach

Boneyard Beach

 

Nature and man work side-by-side to shape artistic displays.  Weathered roots and branches create ever-changing driftwood sculptures.  An abundance of seashells provide ornamentation for pruned palms.  At high tide, the sparkling blue sea encloses the withering trees.  It makes one imagine that a fantastical Atlantis lies just below the water's surface.

Naturally created driftwood sculptures

Naturally created driftwood sculptures

The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground, a most advantageous point from which to contemplate this world.
— Henry David Thoreau
 
Nature creating driftwood sculptures.

Nature creating driftwood sculptures.

 

Stay tuned for the next installment where I'll explore Botany Bay's historical structures and woodlands.