Weekly Photo Challenge – AFLOAT

“Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.”

Audre Lorde

(10 Photos)



This week’s “afloat” challenge gave me an opportunity to use the capture above, showing two oddly-compatible creatures basking in the sun as pollen floats by on the water below. It’s one of many from our visit this past weekend to beautiful Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC.



 “Our glories float between the earth and heaven; Like clouds which seem pavillions of the sun.”

Edward Bulwer-lytton

The gardens and swamp are simply magnificent – I try to visit them at least once each spring. This weekend the gardens were lush with azaleas and camelias, as always surrounded by ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss. The swamp was bustling with activity.  Mama egrets and herons sat atop their soon-to-hatch eggs while fathers-to-be continued to spruce up the nests.



“Style is the gossamer on which the seeds of truth float through the world.”

George Bancroft

It was a beautiful day in Charleston, full of bright sunshine and warm, soft breezes. The site, founded in 1676 on the Ashley River, is brimming both with beautiful flowers and birds, and also with history. Originally established as a rice plantation – where the riverfront location meant critical access to transportation – the plantation housed both American and British troops during the Revolutionary War.  Later, following the Civil War (which threatened to destroy the plantation) the gardens were opened to the public and happily, saved from ruin.



“The greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.”

David Hume

 As one approaches the Plantation, it’s a difficult choice whether to focus on the gardens or the swamp. For the  energetic among us, it’s possible to do both in a single day. On the garden side, we find meandering paths through incredibly glorious flowers, lovely river views and a multitude of ponds with scenic, romantic bridges. Many of the ponds are filled with beautiful, tall cypress trees showing their water-bound roots.



“Dignity does not float down from heaven…it is a reward reserved for those who labor with diligence.”

Bill Hybels



“Let go of the heavy pains of yesterday and you will feel lighter to float on top with your values.”

Israelmore Ayivor

Nearby but a bit further on, the swamp offers incredible opportunity for bird photography, as the egrets, herons and many other species build their nests very close to the paths which line the waters.



 “Life is a tide; float on it.”

Prem Rawat

The BEST time to visit the swamp is when the chicks are newly-hatched. The activity level increases exponentially as parents call to one another, dive for food, and feed their demanding brood.  During our visit last week we saw many nests with eggs but none of the chicks had yet emerged. I suppose that means I’ll just have to make another visit to the swamp in a few weeks!



 “Watching the clouds float across the sky is by no means a waste of time.”

John Lubbock

Gardens or Swamp–such a tough choice. I’ll close with examples of each. Perhaps you’ll see why my answer is — BOTH 😊



“Souls are not designed to float around in thin air.”

Alex Chiu



“Sin is a stone which does not float.”

Sri Guru Granth Sahib

With apologies for my longer-than-most post, and encouragement that if you’re ever in the area you visit this very special place, I invite you to see some other bloggers’ float posts here.

70 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – AFLOAT

  1. So much material choice for photography Tina ! A lovely tranquil side to the walk looking at the gazebo setting .and swamp photos .. Once those chicks are here … yes .. a flurry of activity and noise … Lol like any family 😉 Fantastic you can get so close to their nesting areas .
    Super pictures all of them .

  2. Oh dear, you have to go back again in a couple of weeks – what a hardship for you! Seriously though, lovely photos of a stunning place. I’m about to reread Fanny Kemble’s Journal of a Residence on a Georgian plantation. I first read it about 30 years ago and although I don’t remember much about the book, I have a very vivid memory of her descriptions of the swamps, with moss hanging from the trees. I imagine this place is very similar to the area she describes.

    • Thanks Maamej – yes it does sound very similar. The live oaks with their Spanish Moss are truly spectacular. They are so reminiscent of the old south – and mind you, I’m a transplanted northerner!

  3. Been there and we have enjoyed it. Looking forward to our return south early to mid may Will give u exact dates soon. Grandaughter coming on the 26 for 6 days. Yea! ! Hope u r both well. Toni

  4. Yes, it has been longer than usual but definitely worth it 🙂 I think that I like “MIRRORED CYPRESS” best, and your first one 😀 Tish, has made me smile 🙂

    • Thanks Bunty – and yes it’s true, the light IS different here than it was in NJ for many years. A bit softer I think – and in the summer far brighter (unfortunately!)

  5. I fell in love with Magnolia plantation when I visited there last winter. And I have a picture of that white bridge loaded with red and green Christmas decorations. I can tell from your pics how spring is transforming that place into pure magic. I imagine Kiawah is blooming, too! Since I’ll be in Augusta later this month for my Midlife Retreat, maybe I can add on a day just to see Magnolia in spring. Thanks for the gorgeous reminder.

  6. Brilliant photos as usual Tina, and no need to apologise for this long post. An enjoyable read. Can’t see why you can’t do both unless both swamp and garden are enormous…brisk walk and you might get through both…or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking 🙂 Hope you get to go back soon and entertain the new brood 😀

  7. I just love that first photo: the juxtaposition of the two is humorous. I understand why you love visiting this place. I’d visit myself if I lived nearby. I especially enjoyed the post as the vegetation is so different from where I live or usually visit.


  8. OUTSTANDING SHOTS….quite mind blowing …..just loving ‘mirrored cypress’ & ‘strange bedfellows’ you just have a very special eye…..love being a fly on your wall!!!!!

  9. There is nothing quite like oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss…will never tire of seeing, reading or dreaming about such a place. These are a set of photos that cry out for a visit ~ a place to get lost in thought and to find our souls, and you open with a great quote I’ve never heard but seeing all the diversity your photos and that Magnolia Plantation offers, it is perfect: “Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.”

  10. I love this post.. No apologies for a ” longer than usual” one! I am glad we are going back !!!! How the heck did you spot that gator and the turtle… And The birds are all beautiful!

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  13. Wonderful captures, Tina. Your first one made me smile, as I’ve had an alligator and a turtle both basking in the sun, just across the lake outside my house. They just seemed to ignore one another. 🙂
    Your bird photos are really gorgeous too. 🙂

  14. These are fabulous and my favorite is your “Afloat on Green Waters” – I love that photograph! What a beautiful spot your garden/swamp – no need to choose – do a strictly garden visit and then a strictly swamp visit – of course I know I would get side-tracked and go back and forth!

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