Monday, December 31, 2018

Cheers to the New Year!

Rainer Maria Rilke 

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."

Best wishes for health, peace, and happiness in 2019

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Winter Beach

Thursday’s wild wind whipped the pounding waves into an airy froth. 

Pieces danced and tumbled along the beach, to be caught by the rocks of the jetty.  

On the jetty, the froth continued to quiver and shake, like a living, breathing thing.  

The beach — always a surprise, always a delight.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Christmas Lights

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the light displays.  I could go for a ride every single night in a different neighborhood to ooo and ahhh.  The photos I took don't do them justice, but here are a few from around town.  

The first is the Kaminski house on the water, right on the main street, one of the 60 antebellum homes left in our small town.

The walkway from the street, an old brick sidewalk, is lined with colored lights while all the rest of the display contains only small white lights.  

The narrow ends of the house face the street and the harbor with the main entrance and a park-like lawn on the side.

The traditional mansion is one room deep along its length, with a central hallway at the entrance.  It was built in the mid-1700s for John Trapier, who began his career as a merchant in Georgetown, supplied the army during the Revolutionary War, and became one of the wealthiest men in the colony. He moved to Charleston and gave the house to his aging and unmarried daughter to enhance her marriage possiblilites.  It apparently worked as she landed a good husband shortly thereafter!  

It isn't only the mansions of our town that are lit up for Christmas.  Here's a little favorite right in our neighborhood.

I don't believe I've ever seen the inflatable Peanuts gang portraying the nativity before!

The next is a house we always make sure to visit and I showed you their offering last year of hundreds of inflated snowmen crowded onto every single balcony and porch.  This year they went for a simpler but no less fun statement:

one giant tipsy snowman (I believe he's been sampling the peppermint schnapps 😁) swaying on the lawn, being watched over by two very interested reindeer from the porches!  

The Writer has done his shopping (he settled for a tropical Santa Christmas tie, thank goodness!), the cards are written, packages wrapped and mailed.  In a couple days we leave for Christmas #3 with my daughter from Germany (she's coming to the US, we're not going to Germany -- this year) and Christmas #4 with my mom.  

Oh, and Hey Santa, I've been real good, are you listening?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Little Bit of Christmas

  Sometimes I long for the Christmases I had when I was a child, when everyone my heart loved lived only a few minutes apart. 
  Christmas Eve was a Norwegian Christmas with about 20 of my mom's family at one house -- great aunts and uncles, grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins.  After a feast of traditional foods and mountains of dishes, Santa's sleigh bells were heard outside.  Chaos ensued with wrapping paper flying, new dolls crying, blinding flash bulbs on the old cameras popping.  
  Church was at 11 p.m.  The sanctuary, filled with spruce trees and pine garlands, brightened with ropes of red and gold, candles and choirs, joyous organ and trumpet music, and the holy comfort of tradition, was never more gorgeous or warm than on Christmas Eve.
Me (left) and my baby sister 

 Then, half asleep we trudged out into the snow and cold that shocked us awake for the drive back to the party.  Out of the kitchen came the ladies in their Christmas aprons with "a little midnight supper" -- leftover turkey, pickled herring, Christmas cookies, coffee -- to fortify us for the ride home and a few hours of sleep. 
  Then, the next day, Christmas Day, we did it all over again with Dad's side of the family.

Me, cousin, and sister, Christmas Eve

Now we all live so far apart, from Wisconsin and Minnesota to South Carolina, California to Florida.  The effort to bestow presents -- and presence -- on children and grandchildren takes us most of  a month!  This week we had Christmas #2 with my daughter and son-in-law and one of my grandsons from Minnesota when they visited my mom in Florida.  

  It was pouring rain when we crossed the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, the tops of the bridge sails hidden in the fog.  Nine rainy hours later, we arrived in central Florida.

  Mason was the only one brave enough to play in the ocean.  The rest of us were sitting on the beach in sweaters, jackets, and long pants. 

  He loved a visit to the Kennedy Space Center
and wore his new space helmet on the 
plane trip home to Minnesota.

My best Christmas present so far (and we have two more Christmases to go)!

Friday, December 7, 2018

And the Answer Is ...

I thought our outdoorsmen -- Red, Troutbirder, David maybe? -- might have gotten this one!

  The landing above from my last post was built specially for canoes, which, if you've carried one, you know are awkward and heavy to transport.  You can just place your canoe on the rails and slide it along beside you up or down the ramp to the water.  Wow, I could really appreciate that technology!
x x x x x x x x x x x x x 

  In the late '60s I went on a canoe trip with a group of girls into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota and Canada.  We carried all our food and gear for 10 days in, and we carried all our trash back out.  These were the days before ultralight equipment and as we portaged from lake to lake, we carried pots and pans, food, hatchets, shovels for latrines, and all our personal belongings in bulky canvas bags called Duluth Packs.  We also carried the heavy canoes over rocky, rough portages of up to several miles.  Fortunately we didn't have to carry water -- that came straight from the pristine lakes.  

The old Duluth packs were heavy before you even put anything inside and items like pots and pans dug into your back with every step you took.  Those of us who carried these wore one of the big packs on our backs and our personal pack on the front.  

The old Grumman 17 foot canoes we used were warhorses weighing about 75 lbs.  The yokes were made for men and didn't fit my narrow shoulders so I was relegated to carrying food and pots 'n pans packs.  

A canoe is carried on the shoulders and neck using a yoke.

I think that clever canoe slide at Buck Hill Landing would have made these portages a whole lot easier!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Palmetto Trail

The best time for hiking in South Carolina is late fall when the bug population is less aggressive, and the heat and humidity somewhat tamed.  The longest trail in the Palmetto State is ...

which stretches 500 miles from the Blue Ridge Mountains, through forests and swamps, through Awendaw just down Hwy 17 from us, to the sea. 

We were inspired by a Department of Natural Resources employee who gave a program at the library. About our age, he had recently completed the 500 mile hike by hiking 2 or 3 day sections over a period of two years.  We loved his stories and fantasized about doing something similar ourselves. 

 While that remains a fantasy, on a recent November Sunday we visited a section near the southern finish of the trail in the Francis Marion National Forest.   

This section follows Awendaw Creek. The wide path winds along a rice dike (a walkway created by slaves for transportation of rice from these old rice fields) and makes a turn to the right to follow the tree line at the top of the photo above.  It follows the dike to the Intracoastal Waterway, where it turns north into the woods, then south again to a pretty national forest campground, a distance of four miles.  (See the moon way up there, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon?)

It was so absolutely still and peaceful, even the birds were completely silent. The day was warm and the sun heating the pine needles cushioning the path sent up a glorious perfume with each step. 

Buck Hill Landing.  
Anyone want to guess what the boards on the left of the ramp
 are used for?
As we rested here, staring at the water, soaking up the peace and quiet, a single runner materialized out of the woods, the only other human we saw on the trail.