Thursday, October 21

In Need of the Horizon

For weeks, the muscles across my chest and shoulders have been tight and I've not been able to breathe deeply. I've come to understand that this tightness is not an illness (of the medical variety) but of the spirit. A physical prompt to let me know it's time to seek the landscape which feeds my soul, clears my mind, loosens muscles and lets me breathe deeply. That landscape is the horizon. To be surrounded by uninterrupted sky meeting land without a single object stopping the eye is for me, soul food.

Lucky for me, the Lovely Linda planned a belated birthday trip to the South Carolina Low Country. For the uninitiated, like me, the "Low Country" is a string of barrier and sea islands from Charleston to Savannah. Topographically, what this area offers are wide and uninterrupted views of golden marshes that march right down to the Atlantic Ocean. The perfect setup for horizon-gazing. In other words, heaven.

At the end of a boardwalk stretching deep into the marshes on Hunting Island is this view. The marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora) reminds me of mature fields of rice ready for harvest. And look at that horizon! I said out loud, "Who could not love this view?" to which Linda replied, "When you look at the horizon, you see endless possibilities, but someone else may look at it and see emptiness." As I stood there transfixed, the muscles across my chest and shoulders began to loosen. I took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh and again stood in the presence of a vast horizon.

As the sun rose higher in the sky an interesting thing occurred. Looking out over the marsh, the air just above the tops of the grass appeared blurry and the color of the light was golden, almost mirage-like. I was lucky enough to get this picture, which saw what my eyes saw.

The backdrop in this photo is the edge of a maritime forest that grows all the way to the ocean. Semi-tropical in nature, the predominant trees are pine and palmetto.

alterniflora up close. When first taking this picture, I thought those were seeds, but now I'm not so sure. One of the naturalists we met along the way told us that as the tide rises, snails and other creatures climb the stalk until the tide ebbs, and then feeds again in the nutrient-rich pluff mud.

Tomorrow...Day Two...We climb a lighthouse!

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