Monday, September 07, 2009

The Enchanted Congaree

Jennifer and I decided Saturday night we'd do something fun on Sunday to get away with the girls. We both have been consumed with a busy start to Fall. Jennifer's teaching dance and organizing the co-op home school schedule and somehow keeping all of us healthy and happy while sanding cabinets and installing hardware.

Stop. Reflect.
The wonder, beauty, and strength that is my best friend.
Hands rest on keypad stunned. Feeling untranslatable abounds.

I've been planting fall seedlings and helping out with projects in the house and we'll have to do a post on the new pvc bow with dowel arrows we built the girls (coming soon).

I love putt-putt and thought the girls would enjoy a day at the fun-park. Apparently they've been near putt-putt and it wasn't good. Had I suggested they return to bed after breakfast? I thought for a moment: "How bout a hike at Congaree?" Would they go for it? Could I get away with spending nothing and walking through the deep woods with my three best friends? Their faces gleamed. "Yeaaahhhh!" Off we went.

This Red Spotted Purple met us at the Congaree visitor center. I've been capturing images of butterflies this summer. Isn't it gorgeous? And the girls are so cool about my butterfly obsession: "Wow dad, he's soooooo beeeauuuutiful. Did you get a good picture?" How is it that I end up taking notes from them on how to encourage others and how to joyfully immerse myself in another's pleasure?

The Congaree claims to have the highest deciduous canopy in the world. Here the girls stand before one of the many ancient Bald-Cypress. This is a rather common size here in the Congaree. The Loblolly Pines abound also, and somewhere here there lives one with a fifteen foot circumference.

Such an odd place is Congaree with the Bald-Cypress knees protruding along the sides of the trails. Very foreign in relation to the Appalachian forest we're used to. But we can get used to this.

I've labeled this fella a Common Wood Nymph but my ID skills are superficial at best.
(Correction: Creole Pearly-Eye. Thanks Lesley).

We lounged at Cedar Creek and enjoyed the deep amber colored water, the Spanish moss hanging lazily in the Tupelos, and waited for some larger snake, beaver, or otter to defy her better instincts and give us a show. The waiting was restful but uneventful.

The Tupelos are the trees by the banks with large base trunks. The green moss growing some feet up the trees designates the level of the last flood. Nature's memory.

Usually we hike Sim's Trail which is a short loop. This trip we pressed forward to Wise Lake which was well worth it. Here the girls pose at Wise Lake.

This Question Mark, yep if I'm right that's its name, sat very patiently while its image was sent to me.

This was just what we wanted. Holding hands, oooooh-ing and aaaah-ing at critters and flowers in bloom, laughing and being together. Why is it when we feel most words fail and only tones communicate?

Thanks Congaree.


Anna Morrison said...

What a refreshing post! This made my day. I love the pics, the poetry, the love.

Missing you all . . .

William Kruidenier said...

Amazing to have such an eco-system so close to Columbia. Like a whole 'nother world.

Scott said...

I wish we could have travelled with you.

Lesley said...

So not only experience it yourself, but to see your kids enjoy and benefit from the peace of the natural world. WAY better than putt putt. Speaking of which, we cant wait to play and explore tide pools and beach critters with you guys soon.

Lesley said...

Oh yes, and I am looking up the butterflies now. Red-spotted Purple and Question Mark are correct, but that is not a Common Wood Nymph, but a Creole Pearly-eye. I have seen the similar Southern Pearly-eye, but never one of these - very cool.

I am glad your girls encourage your naturalizing and photography!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Lesley. I gotta use more than the book. There were so many more there that I couldn't persuade to sit still. And, we are really really excited about doing some beach exploring with you all to. It's just not getting here fast enough.