Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Undammed

I could just marvel all day at the beauty of our world. Take me out of the city, stick me back in nature, where I surely belong. 

The Edisto River in South Carolina is over 200 meandering miles long, boasting to be the longest blackwater river in North America that is not dammed nor leveed. 

The South Carolina Lowcountry is  used to describe the state's southern coastal counties, generally Charleston and the counties south of there. The region includes the South Carolina Sea Islands plus the  counties of Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton.

The Cypress Swamp boardwalk on the Edisto River at Colleton State Park in South Carolina leads to a boat dock.  The river crisscrosses the swampy forest, with levels changing often.
The Edisto River is a favorite for canoe and kayak enthusiasts. 
Click for more Information on boating the Edisto River
Wolfman Harley is snuggled in his afghan while cold rains pour down, outside his window. He can raise both ears, but he prefers that junk-yard-dog look, of a one-eared dog. Literally, he naps, with one ear out at all times. 

A dear friend had this large afghan custom made for me years ago, then shipped it to the Caribbean, where I was living with my cats. I slept with it every night until I relocated to America, losing my beloved cat on the way home from the airport. My cat of nine years and this precious afghan, were some  of a few treasured sentimental items I managed to bring from the Caribbean.  I was distraught and heartbroken for many months without my cat. Already super sick, my health seemed to decline rapidly.  I looked for my cat in person, plus with the aid of thousands of phone calls, posters, printed postcards, and newspaper ads, yet he never turned up. I still sorely miss him. He was very healing for me, with a strong personality that made him unique. 

While writing about the weather for 12 years,  in the Virgin Islands at , I often included anecdotes about my cats.

Because my lost cat loved this afghan, I was too upset to use it for many months, so it laid in waiting on the guest bed in the loft of my modest wheel estate.  I kept it hidden so that I rarely saw it.  One day, many months later,  I wanted to nap, but I was chilly, but not chilly enough to slip under the comforter.  I knew  the banished afghan would be the perfect cover, but I had not touched it in almost a year.  Tearfully, I removed the afghan from the guest loft, then laid to rest,  snuggled in cozy comfort, thinking of all three of my cherished cats that often curled up with me, keeping me company, especially while I was so sick.
LIL BEAR was born in the Caribbean, in 2001 to a sickly feral mother, who taught him to be wild and hate humans. As a kitten, it took him months to be tame.  He turned out to be a super loving kitty, who had a fondness for the great outdoors as well as the comforts of home. He loved to cuddle in the afghan, with or without me. Sadly, through my own stupidity, he was lost around Blacksburg, South Carolina during a cold snap while I was moving to America. While seriously ill, I searched long and hard for him for months, chasing down every black cat anyone called about in the area. I never found him and it broke my heart. I still wonder about his fate.

My puppy dog, Harley, took an immediate liking to the seemingly new afghan, adopting it for his own comfort whenever he is napping. So now we keep it on our bed and we are both really happy to have my old fluffy friend around. 
I am forever fascinated with the mystery and romance of Spanish Moss, quite common throughout the low country of South Carolina.
The forest is so big, my wheel estate so small.
I discovered the unique charm of Colleton State Park, South Carolina for only 12 hours,  last November. I was more than happy to return here recently, this time for a few days.
Numerous hiking trails cut through the swampy forest behind me.
Harley and I hiked many of them, soaking up the magnificence of a less complicated world, where the only sounds are our  footfalls against a symphony of chirping birds with a soft whisper of a slow moving river.

South Carolina Off the Beaten Path

The low country of South Carolina and the Caribbean, have many traits in common. Maybe it explains why I feel at home in both places. In the third grade, I had a teacher from this area, she spoke of it lovingly, as if she was homesick for the low country, everyday she taught in upstate South Carolina. I can still hear her unique southern accent, it was remarkably different from the upstate natives. Now that folks move and travel far and wide, it's much harder to distinguish regional accents. But back then, her accent instantly told you what part of the state she was raised in.

She used to ask me almost every day, if she could run her fingers through my long straight hair. It was an  innocent request and I always indulged her.  I remember during gusty days of March, the winds would whip knots into my hair during recess. She often brushed it for me, before we all returned to our school work. At the beginning of the school year, she assigned me a seat, right in front of her desk. She informed me, I was expected to work hard and make excellent grades. It was a remarkable school year for me as I struggled to make all A's.  My family was having a bit of chaos at home, but that teacher instilled a love of learning, making me toil hard at my studies, for fear I would lose her respect if I didn't score high on my exams.

When it came time for school pictures, the teachers were expected to make sure our hair was combed neatly in place, before the photo. I was dismayed when she lined us up, putting me at the very end, the very last child in our class to be photographed. She hurriedly combed out each child's hair in line, then spent extra time combing my long hair what seemed like a 100 times.  I still remember that photo, I had a big smile, and not a single long hair out of place.  I can still see that teacher in my mind, and hear her unmistakable dialect from the low country.

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