Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You
“Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them.”Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
This week our guest host Priscilla has invited us to illustrate a relationship with “a person, place, culture or object that has captured our attention, won our affection, and taught us a thing or two.” Many years ago when I told a friend in New Jersey that we were building a home on Kiawah’s marsh, he asked why anyone would want to live “on a swamp”. With a smile at the memory, I’d like to answer his question by inviting you to get to know one of my favorite places in the world, the lowcountry marsh of Kiawah Island.
“…to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”Rachel Carson
I have seen the marsh in all kinds of weather, at all times of day, and in every season. While I love the sea on which our island rests, to me it falls short of the beauty and variety of our salt marsh. Its colors change with the seasons, delivering magnificent sunrises and sunsets throughout the year. Its “pluff mud”, seen at low tide, is cultivated as an amazing balm for the skin. At high tide it can resemble a massive body of water with the occasional tree poking through.
The marsh holds melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.”William Beebe
The marsh performs vital functions for our coastal world. It filters unwanted chemicals to improve water quality and provides an important habitat for organisms that feed our beautiful birds. It is home to fish, shrimp, crabs, turtles, otters, snails and many other creatures, and offers safe breeding grounds and nutrients for our winged residents. Often, the sight of fishermen casting nets to capture bait fish is a reminder of nostalgic days gone by.
“…you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”Pat Conroy
The grasses of the marsh perfectly illustrate our changing seasons. A bright, verdant green announces the arrival of spring which deepens as the grasses grow longer in the heat of summer. The beautiful gold tones of autumn turn a sleepy beige as winter’s chill sets in. Marsh tides deliver ever-changing scenery which at their height fill the many creeks and streams until the grasses are nearly hidden. Low tides create a feeding ground for our many aquatic birds along with an opportunity for local photographers. Cloud formations reflect on the marsh waters below, which serve as both respite and meal ticket for our local river dolphins. It is an ever-changing miracle of nature that offers not only beauty but also a playground for boaters, fishermen, crabbers, kayakers and paddle boarders.
“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free. Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea.“Sidney Lanier
I could go on forever about the beauty of our marshes, and their importance to our island and its wild inhabitants. Instead, I’ll share a few more images before closing, in the hopes that you might find it as beautiful as I do. What better way to celebrate the importance of this natural wonder than the week of Earth Day?!
“We need the tonic of the wilderness, to wade sometimes in the marsh where the bitten and the meadow hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snips; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.”Henry David Thoreau
Special thanks to Priscilla for joining us as Guest Host, and for a beautiful challenge which offered me a chance to share one of my favorite places. We look forward to getting to better know the people, places and/or things that are most special to you. Please remember to link your response to Priscilla’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule with Patti leading the challenge on her Pilotfish blog inviting you to “Focus on the Details”. Until then, please continue to stay safe and be kind.
Note: With the exception of my third image in neighboring Seabrook Island, all of this week’s images were captured on Kiawah Island