Friday, March 14, 2008

Hunting Island Part 2

Part 1 of our beach trip is posted below. Here is part 2.
Here is Ellen at the top of the light house. Her expression says it all. Last year no one went up the light house because one has to be so tall. This year Ellen was so tall but Arianna sadly was not. There are lots of proud making moments for me as a parent. And without digressing into my parenting philosophy or what I do and don't appreciate in children I'll simply say that Arianna walked away carrying both her disappointment and frustration without tantrum or one word of complaint. This occurred naturally without any prompting or forewarning. I just wanted to squeeze her to death. She showed restraint and self-control in a challenging situation. It never ceases to amaze me just how proud I can be as a parent and what small events trigger the reaction. No doubt I miss more than I ought. But I was preoccupied with her inner strength for the rest of the day. We have her on the body-stretcher for next year.

Here is the view of the light house from below. There is a reconstructed house foundation and several other buildings that held tools and such. A small rail was built to deliver goods to the outpost and fresh water was collected from the roof and stored in a large underground cistern. It seems it was a lonely and isolated life for the person or family charged with maintaining the flame.
Here are the girls in one of the light house buildings now full of light house history. We picked our favorites. They are beautiful structures-the beauty emanating largely from their functionality. Art of course ought imitate nature (I won't defend that).
On the way to the light house we traveled through the woods via trail. During low tide it is possible to take the beach back to the campground and so that is what we did. What we found was the reality of the ever shifting surface of this small island and the rapid forest loss which results. Without intervention, as the sand shifts with currents, the waves erode away soil leaving trees to die and eventually fall. What used to be forest becomes beach and later ocean. The next few pictures are of our hike back to the campground.

It was a very simple reminder that life is a precarious event beholden to much larger forces. Here the forest grew and thrived only to be washed away as conditions changed. The trees followed all the rules to the best of their ability doing everything in their power to succeed. But their success or failure wasn't so much under their control as it was that of winds and waters they could do little to nothing to avoid. Is there an analogy for us? If anything all one can do is be the best at what one is and leave the rest to...

Here you can see the root ball of this palmetto. There is another trail on the island which takes one into the marshy tide-waters which are mostly grassy fields with the occasional clump of shrub and tree where the ground rises above sea level. Much of the trail is on boardwalk due to the daily high tide which covers most of the fields in water. The Spanish moss, wind-swept gnarled trees, and endless streams create a beautiful landscape but not the kind one feels very comfortable walking into. The girls kindly posed but I failed to capture the true beauty of the surrounding scene.

Finally, we went into the small town of Beaufort on our last full day. Normally we wouldn't have ventured back into town on a camping trip but the wind was so strong and cold we just felt like we needed to do some sight seeing. Beaufort is a beautiful historical city which is now largely given over to the pursuits of wealthy retired folks (as a qualification my comments only reflect our brief tour of the gentrified downtown). The shops are quaint and expensive. We hiked around town and found this old Beaufort Artillery which was built in 1798 to house a local artillery which served in the Revolutionary war. It's a fascinating looking fortress with cannons set up throughout. The artillery houses the Beaufort History Museum which was unfortunately closed.
We packed things up and headed home on our fourth day. Nothing like sleeping in a tiny dome, eating by campfire, heating by campfire, and feeling sand in everything to make one long for home. On the way we passed this group of buzzards enjoying a hefty deer carcass. As is usual the picture doesn't do justice to the bird's size. They were soaring overhead, perched in trees, and bickering over position as they picked at the hide. Haven't you ever wondered, when you see them floating above, whether they ever successfully find anything? I have. They do apparently. Plenty.
So ends another family vacation. Much was left out and too much was said. But we had a wonderful time together and count the days till we can get away again.


Lesley and Jason said...

Wonderful description Daniel. We wish we could have been there to share the explorations and learning. Thanks for sharing a simple, yet profound proud moment with Ariana - that was very sweet.

Enjoy being back to school/work this week while your girls are off gallivanting again....

Hope to see you all soon.

Love, Les

William said...

Nice job on the two beach trip posts. Great pix and descriptions. Amazing shot of the buzzards. (And the girls.)