Lens-Artists Challenge #185 – Change
“A marsh is a whole world within a world, a different world, with a life of its own, with its own permanent denizens, its passing visitors, its voices, its sounds, its own strange mystery.”Guy de Maupassant
This week John Steiner brings us his first challenge as a member of our host team – and what an interesting topic he’s chosen! Among the many ways one might approach the subject of change, I’ve chosen a special element of life on our beloved island – the beautiful marshes. Ever-changing – with the seasons, the tides, the light, the elements – the marsh is critical to both our human inhabitants and our plentiful wildlife.
“The marsh snuggled in closer with a low fog, and she slept.”Delia Owens
Our marsh appears in multiple places throughout the island and takes on a different personality depending on the time of day, the geographic orientation, the weather and the season. My opening image was captured at the very western edge of the island during an extremely high “King Tide”. The image just above is from a spot very close by but from a different direction during a thick fog.
“What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs, if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty.”Henry David Thoreau
Once again from the same western end of our island, the vista above looks across the marsh and a winding river that leads to the sea. The tall grasses provide a haven for deer, fox, bobcats, raccoons, birds, and yes, sometimes dolphin and our ever-popular alligators.
“The marsh, to him who enters it in a receptive mood, holds…..the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.”William Beebe
Further east, the marsh is surrounded by a narrow river that leads to the sea. At high tide the dolphins can be seen swimming through small pathways traversing the grasses, while at low tide they can often be seen practicing their “stranding” teamwork, pushing local mullet up onto the mud for a quick meal.
“Midway between land and water, freshwater marshes are among the most highly productive ecosystems on earth, rivaling the tropical rainforest.”Robin Wall Kimmerer
Near the center of the island, a large swath of marsh is crossed by a wooden bridge. On the far side once can see across the marsh to the ocean beyond. One afternoon as I was crossing the bridge I was gifted with the glorious sky in the image above. After a sudden storm, the sun had broken through the clouds and accented the golden marsh grasses with a warm glow. I had only my cellphone with which to capture it, but I simply could not pass by without at least an attempt.
“Keep your spirits up, hope for the best, and with a tremendous slice of luck you may come out one day and see the Long marshes lying below you.”J.R.R. Tolkien
I found myself on the far eastern end of our island late one afternoon with camera in hand hoping to capture a beautiful sunset. I cannot remember the sunset, but I did come across the beautiful great blue heron shown above, seeking its evening meal as the sun began its slide into blue hour. I went home more than happy with nature’s gift for that day.
“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
Most of the visitors here on Kiawah are drawn to our beautiful beach. Many also appreciate our wildlife, especially the birds. For me, Kiawah’s most beautiful feature is the ever-changing, life-sustaining, light-reflecting marsh. I’ve seen deer loping through the grasses, multiple species of birds feeding together during low tide, dolphin swimming through the creeks, and incredible plants seeking nutrients from the rich pluff mud. I hope I’ve conveyed at least a bit of the beauty to be found in this ever-changing element of our island home.
Sincere thanks to John for the opportunity to share this favorite Kiawah feature. You can find his challenge here. Please be sure to link your responses to his original post. Thanks also to Amy for last week’s “Travel Has Taught Me” challenge. I had fun traveling down memory lane for my response and appreciated the many thoughtful and beautiful responses of our followers. Finally, we hope you’ll join us next week when Sofia leads us on her Photographias blog. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.