28 February 2011

On the waterfront in Savannah

So far both evenings in Savannah we have made our way to River Street. 

Sunday afternoon it was teeming with tourists, a pleasant sort of aimless throng.  It felt magic to me, the sounds and scents different from what I'm used to in my everyday life.  Cobblestones under foot, the tall balconied buildings rising up from the narrow street, street cars, sidewalk artists and musicians, couples with strollers and older couples holding hands (that included the two of us).  The river was almost as busy as the street, with pleasure boats vying for space along with huge container ships and colorful tugs. 

Having missed lunch, we had an early dinner at the Olympia Cafe, a Greek restaurant which reminded me of the now gone Elite Cafe in Columbia I used to frequent in a former life.  We shared an entree -- sauted grouper with lamb gravy, lemon roasted new potatoes and rice with onions and green peas.  Luscious.  And, the light in the restaurant ... sweet, almost holy.  I felt obligated to make a few photographs.  Our waiter wanted to straighten the chairs!

Last night didn't include a meal as we'd had a big lunch.  (Plus, the hospitality room stocked by the spouses of the rifle team has some really good stuff!)  We left the hotel for the waterfront simply to sit by the river, to watch evening creep up, to see the lights come on across the bridge.  We were thoroughly entertained. 

In one particularly dear scene a little child, a toddler, spotted a young man walking his dog.  The young man noticed the child's interest and stopped to speak.  A quick consultation with the parents resulted in the child being invited to "take" the leash and help walk the dog.  Over the moon, I think would be a fair description of the child's response.  Giving the leash back took a bit of negiotiation!

Here are a few shots of a container ship, the Dubai Express, we watched make its way toward the terminal.

And, finally, THE bridge.  Driving over it takes such concentration.  One wants to look at the bridge, not the traffic on the bridge.  Yikes.  Imagine my disappointment that the bridge's construction did not allow for pedestrian access. 

The Talmage Memorial Bridge, a cable-stayed span, was completed in November of 1990. 
This shot was taken at dusk after the Dubia Express had passed through.
Our hotel is located very near the left tower. 

There are two sets of cables on each tower.  When viewed from a better angle than in the photograph above, the cables appear to be four sails.  I have yet to locate that "better angle" for a photograph of the entire bridge.  Safety is a real issue (more from traffic than from Savannah's residents, by the way).  The shot to the right was taken from the parking lot as we arrived back at the hotel for the night.

27 February 2011

A process of elimination

We headed on a sort of southeast bearing this morning, bound for Savannah.  The purpose for this jaunt is Tal's 3rd Army Reserve Rifle Team reunion.  Tal knows much of the state of South Carolina because of his years with the highway patrol, but today we entered territory even new to him -- and all new to me.

Having programmed the Garmin with the address of the hotel where we'll be staying the four nights we're away from home, I had not consulted a map prior to setting out.  As I drove -- beyond Aiken to New Ellenton, then around the Savannah River Site to Barnwell and on to Allendale -- I began to notice a growing sense of something I couldn't quite latch onto.
Passing through Cave (yes, there is a community with that name in South Carolina), my thoughts began to formulate.  Tal and I are in the process of a downsizing relocation.  Given the economic climate it's taking longer than we had anticipated.  So, we're simply enjoying the lovely place we call home and keeping our eyes and minds open to any circumstance that begs our attention.  And, fact is, we don't precisely know where we'd like to end up anyway.
Today I managed to eliminate a few of the possibilities.  Like, well, Cave for a start.  And, Fairfax, Gifford, Luray, Scotia, Garnett, Tarboro, Tillman to name a few others (all in South Carolina, by the way).  I know for many thousands of people rural Aiken, Barnwell, Allendale, Hampton and Jasper counties -- those counties along the Savannah River -- hold special appeal, but I can pretty completely count them out.  Even though my newly identified feeling abated slightly as we neared Savannah and the terrain took on more of a lowcountry look, with live oaks and Spanish moss, I didn't find myself the least bit tempted to temper my assessment.
Now, I can enjoy being in Savannah with Tal's friends without having to wonder if this is the place.  I suppose without even having made a formal decision, our thoughts of mid-to-upstate were on target all along.  

23 February 2011

Home and happy about it

Oh, it was so good to get home yesterday afternoon!  Two dogs and Tal met me at the car door moments after I pulled into the garage.  There were greetings to Tal from the some of the York Place staff and board, there was mail to sort, there was supper to dream up, a dish to prepare for a family gathering later today, there was our daily promenade walk.  And, there were daffodils. 

I admit that the photograph might not actually be of a daffodil.  That's was I call most yellow spring-time flowers that bloom early.  But, seeing it illuminated like that made being home even better.   

22 February 2011

A touchstone of sorts

I left the hotel early this morning in order to walk the York Place campus with the camera before the board gathered.  Although I go to York frequently (at least three times per year), I have a tendency to focus solely on the meetings, letting exploration wait until another time, for a visit when I have "more" time -- a chronic tendency, I'm sad to say.

The barn is my favorite building, a central feature of campus and the backdrop to those who live, work and visit York Place.  It isn't perfect, but functional, useful.  I don't know when it was built; I don't know who built it. 

That plain building, simply by standing there, gives me such pleasure.  It's an odd touchstone in my life, and has been for a rather long time -- since before having left South Carolina for seminary in the fall of 1989.  I look for the barn when I turn onto campus, not the adminstration building or the pavilion or the dining hall, but the barn.

Of course, it might reach the end of its usefulness one day.  The plot of earth it stands on might be needed for something else.  That will be OK.  But, if I'm still around, I'll miss it. 

21 February 2011

Strong winds

Today seemed like March-come-early with wild, gusty winds.  I had to make my way once again to York for the winter meeting of the York Place board.  I did much better in terms of time than I did two weeks ago when York seemed to be pulling away from me faster than I was driving.  Travelling secondary roads, though, I had to pay attention along the way not to let the wind get the best of the car when I passed from protected wooded areas into the open stretches with fields on both sides of the road.

The drive was not all work; I was not without entertainment.  With the wind blowing relentlessly from left to right, I came upon a astonishing sight.  At the foot of a driveway leading to a large old farmhouse was a man with a leaf blower attempting to blow the leaves back up the driveway -- right to left.  There he was looking a bit like Charles Schulz's Pig-pen, enshrouded there in the driveway in a cloud of swirling dust and leaves, as opposed to Pig-pen's cloud of dust.

I guess what I was seeing was leaf blowing on the day's list of things to do.  No matter what.  At any rate that gritty man made me smile every time I recalled the sight of him.

20 February 2011

A rare find

Actually, there's nothing rare about it at all.  It's just a winged elm (Ulmus alata) -- also known as a corked or wahoo elm -- and they are everywhere in this part of the world.  But, this is one I have walked by for years on our relatively regular strolls along the Governor's Rail Trail in Edgefield.   

Today I noticed it, so to me it's a find.  And, none of the several in our yard display wings as full or as colorful as this one, so in that regard to me it's rare.

I'm crazy about it and look forward to watching its flowers bloom and leaves form in the next few weeks.

19 February 2011

Down by the pond at sunset

As yesterday progressed I felt increasingly weary and out of sorts.  It's not that I was irritable.  Rather I had the feeling that something was not quite right.  That something turned into a migraine that brought me to a full stop. 

Today after sleeping until I woke naturally (thanks to Tal who closed the bedroom door when he got up to tend the dogs, make the coffee and greet Bruce) I have felt better though not back to normal.  I focused on quiet tasks that didn't require lots of physical
activity but that gave me a
sense of accomplishment.  I am going to be gone Monday and Tuesday for a board meeting at York Place, so there were things that had to be done.

During the very late afternoon I took the camera and walked the promenade, poked around the yard and sat by the pond.  I must have been outside for between an hour and an hour and a half.  It was a refreshing and soothing time.  The day could not have ended any more nicely.

The two photographs included in this post were taken during that late afternoon stroll.  The catkins glowed in the direct late afternoon sun.  Since I'm using the prime lens, I had to push my way through the thick bushes along the pond in order to get close enough and to compose the shot with the catkins well-spaced and filling the frame.  When I emerged back onto the promenade my clothes and I were streaked with pollen.  Ah, might that be the culprit behind the still-lingering headache?  If so, it's going to be a very long spring.

The second image was taken in the deep dusk, just before I called it a day.  It's of the deer fence nearest the house where it goes into the water.  Given the low light the depth of field is shallow giving the photograph a soft and mysterious look with the wire fading to out of focus.  But, without that fast prime lens I would have had to give up the shot completely or to go back to the house to fetch the tripod (perish that thought).

One of the things I heard again and again at the CNPA meeting in Charlotte speaker to speaker to speaker was this:  "practice, practice, practice."  It might not "make perfect," but it will make me see more of my world.

18 February 2011

Prime lens

It's an autofocus Sigma 30mm 1.4.  A very nice, easy to manage fixed (or prime) lens.  On the advice of a photographer I trust, when I invested in a digital SLR I bought the lens and camera body (a Canon Rebel XT) separately.  My friend's reasoning was that I needed to learn to see and that I needed to learn to gauge where I needed to be, where my person needed to be, in order to see the best.  For the first year that is precisely what I did.

Then, I invested again.  This time in a 24-105mm Canon zoom, image stabilized lens.  Heavier than the Sigma, but awfully fine.  It turned -- instantly -- into my workhorse lens.  I put the Sigma in the camera bag and there it has stayed for years.  Until yesterday. 

While I was in Charlotte, the three photographers I heard speak talked about photographic equipment and stressed finding ways to get the shots one wants with the equipment one has.  There are times to upgrade, to purchase better cameras, longer lenses, but the time is not now, not when you first think about it.  The time might be after you know exactly what every piece of equipment you currently own will do and when you are able to get the best out of it.  Sounded like good advice to me.

So, the Sigma's out of bag and I'm going to try to use it exclusively for the next month or so.  It will mean more exercise!  To zoom in or out I'll have to use my feet instead of the lens.  It will mean my being more mindful of what I am doing.  I'll have to have in mind clearly, and in advance, what I want the end result to be after the shutter is released.  It will mean there will be some things I won't be able to do, but that's part of the point of this exercise.

One big advantage of the Sigma is that it is a fast lens (that 1.4 designation means it has a large aperture), meaning it does well in low light.  I took this photograph of Whitby this afternoon in the kitchen -- handheld with available light. Probably wouldn't have been able to do that without a tripod using the 24-105.  The downside here is that the image had to be cropped.  I was leaning way over the counter and even with those contortions Whitby turned out looking pretty far away.  Why didn't I get closer and try again?  I did.  Whitby, however, came to me when I crouched down with the camera.  He's cute, but a most uncontrollable subject.      

While we were in the doctor's office last Tuesday, I read an article about aerial photography in an issue of AOPA Pilot (Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association).  One of the three photographers featured, a Mike Collins, offered this thought on not obsessing about equipment:  "A photographer's most important tools are his eyes and his brain."

All righty then. 

17 February 2011

Dinner party

Who treats a guest this strangely? 

Three weeks ago we invited a friend to come to dinner on the 17th of February.  That's tonight.  The house is clean and the meal prep has been done.  But, well ... But two things:
  • I was away for several days and it's winter so Tal couldn't be outside as much as he would have liked.  To keep himself occupied he set up a big jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table.  It's still unfinished.  With a perfectly good -- and very pretty -- dining room we are going to eat at the kitchen table tonight.
  • I am serving a shrimp and spinach dish with roasted carrots and feta as a side.  Although all the prep is done, both dishes will need to be prepared once our guest arrives, the shrimp on the stovetop and the carrots in the oven.  Since it's just going to be the three of us, I'm going to invite our guest to sit at the counter and visit while I cook.  No living room by the fire pre-dinner for him!
None of this seems too well planned.  I know better than to have lots of last minute tasks; I could have insisted on moving the puzzle.  But, the point is friendship.  Dining rooms, proper cocktail hours are secondary. 

Now, I hope he feels the same! 

The day wasn't all work.  In addition to a trip to the grocery store, I walked to the head of the pond with Tal to leave corn for the wood ducks.  The reflections in the water and the about-to-bloom maple branches were so serene.

16 February 2011

Like two different days

Back to Columbia with me.  Today's trip was for a breakfast meeting, a delicious one -- French toast and bacon.  The hardest part was being up and on the road early.  But late enough to follow the worst of the traffic.  No need to make things any harder than they need to be.  I couldn't tarry long in the capitol city, though.  The day's second appointment was mid-afternoon back here in Edgefield County.

Days like today feel odd -- in a couple of ways.  The meetings are fine.  I get to where I need to be and participate fully in whatever it is that's under consideration.  But, the rest of the day tends to be a loss.  The scattered down time slips away.  I don't really get into anything substantial between meetings or events.  I wonder if I don't think there's enough time.  Or, if I'm not actually interested in whatever's next on the list.

The other way days like today feel odd is this:  for some reason it seems amazing to me that I find myself in two such different places.  It feels like I've lived two different days, a Columbia day and an Edgefield day.  Do I deep down think I need only accomplish one thing day?  Oh, who knows.

I did manage between things to clean out the book bag I had with me over the weekend and my handbag.  That is progress, right?

15 February 2011

Bumper sticker

I drove Tal to Columbia today for a doctor's appointment.  It's been a long time, several years in fact, since he has seen this particular physician and I found on arriving at the parking garage that the drill had been changed.  I parked where I could and inquired at the desk as Tal checked in about the new procedure.  Armed the the necessary code to gain entry to the garage I went to move the car.

During that maneuver I noticed this bumper sticker and laughed out loud.  Maybe no truer words have been penned.  Since the sign included an attribute, once home I typed Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in to the browser.  Evidently, she's a force to be reckoned with and knows of which she writes and speaks. 

This particular line appears in an article Ulrich wrote
on little-studied Puritan funeral services.
It's also the title of a more recent book.

14 February 2011

Pine grove

Tal and I started a project today, a project that will get us -- and keep us -- outside for some time.

When we bought this property the three acres between the house site and Country Club Road was mostly an open field with only a few trees -- winged elms and sweet gums, several oaks and a fair number of pines which had not been cut when the property was timbered in the 1980s.  Over the years we've been here the field has grown up, volunteer pines in particular (along with an assortment of briars and lots of dog fennel)growing fast and thick.  In a process of limbing up and thinning we have set about to turn our pine thicket into a pine grove.

Here's what it looked like at the end of our work today.
The young trees casting individual long shadows late in the day is a new thing!

13 February 2011

Sunday drivers

This has been a most lovely day. 

I was up at 5:30 and in the hotel's Lakefront Restaurant at 6:30 when it opened.  Sat by a window overlooking the lake (hence the name) and watched detail surrounding the hotel materialize in the rising light.  By the time the sun flooded the room I was into my second cup of coffee and a sumptuous meal -- scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuit, fried potatoes, fruit.  So good. And, really bad for me, I realize.  I sat there for over an hour just being, with plenty of time left for checking out before the final session (Jim Zuckerman on "Travel Photography").

The drive home, a drive without a schedule, through the country rather than on the interstate, was less tense than the one to York on Wednesday, I'm grateful to say.  In fact, I like the Chester to Whitmire to Newberry to Saluda route.  Even the Sunday drivers I sort of enjoyed. 

Come to the end of a driveway or road.  Look both ways, up and down the highway.  See a car -- me --coming.  Pause.  Pause a little while longer.  Pull out, slowly, swinging wide.  Accelerate even more slowly.  Drift over the center line.  Slow and jerk right when meeting an oncoming vehicle.

That must have happened four times.  Traffic was such that it took a bit for me to get around.  It took me almost the whole way home before I realized that I was a Sunday driver, too.  My style's different.  But, we were all out on a very fine day enjoying the road, the scenery, and in my case fond thought of my destination.

Speaking of that, my destination ...  As I pulled the car into the garage, the kitchen door opened.  Two dogs flung themselves down the steps and to the open car door.  Tal was more sedate but no less pleased to have me home at the end of my lovely Sunday drive. 

12 February 2011

Door prize

It's been 36 hours since my last post and most of the CNPA meeting is behind me.  Facing the throngs hasn't been so bad.  The program, on the other hand, has been great -- and worth the personal ansgt over being here.

For the record, yesterday's program was Jim Zuckerman (the meeting's keynote speaker) and "Shooting Strategies for Wildlife" and Les Saucier presenting "Macro Secrets."  Today I took in "The Building of an Image" with Donna Eaton and Jim Zuckerman focusing on "Using Photoshop in Nature Photography."  I have pages of notes.  But, that's not the best part.  The generosity of these three people, of the folks who run the CNPA and of the members I have encountered is significant.  Their knowledge across the board has not been proprietary; every question has been met with a clear and patient answer.  Then there's the tradeshow.  Oh, very dangerous.

The annual meeting was earlier this evening.  In return for handing in an evaluation on arriving for the meeting one received a ticket for the door prize drawing.  Rarely a winner in such venues, my number was called!  Not a week-long photo shoot, not a camera bag, not a box of photo paper, not editing software.  I am the proud owner of a medium grey F-stop Gear t-shirt.  A prize is a prize. 

11 February 2011


How hard could this possibly be?

I'm a new member of the CNPA.  While in the process of joining up, I acted on impulse and registered to attend the annual meeting.  As the date approached, I didn't let myself think about it too much.

Late yesterday afternoon I offically checked in, made my program selections and discovered that I am one of 430 registrants.  This is a big meeting and I know not one single soul.  How hard is it?  Disturbingly so.

But, I went to the opening lecture on Epson printers last night.  Epsons are awesome.  Their expense is about as intimidating as being here!  I even made conversation on the way from the ballroom to the elevator when the lecture was over. 

With a huge expenditure of psychic energy it's -- and I'm -- going to be OK.   

10 February 2011


I am in Charlotte in a hotel near the University of North Carolina campus.  And, I'm a day early -- having had to be in York  (about forty miles away) for a lunch meeting yesterday.  The annual meeting of the Carolinas Nature Photographers Association doesn't start until this evening.

A whole day.  Concentrated time for quiet thought, long walks, good reading, maybe even a nap.  I'm thinking of today as sabbath.  Here's what Abraham Joshua Heschel has to say on the topic.

Sabbath is an opportunity to mend our tattered lives; to collect rather than to dissipate time.
Isn't that an interesting thought?  Collecting time.  Gathering it, holding it, tending it.  One cannot do that while hurrying, while obsessing over the "to do" list, while fretting over staying on schedule.

This hotel has light fixtures that interest me.  They are spare, plain.  They don't call attention to themselves.  And, their manufacture doesn't seem to have taken an excess of raw material or anything particularly unusual.  The one in the image to the right is in my room.  Its lines please me. 

Were life so straightforward.  More collecting of time seems a must.  

09 February 2011

York has to be here somewhere ...

Why is it when you're running early, efforts at killing time -- like little side trips or stopping for a cup of coffee -- don't seem to help much?  But, when you're cutting it a little close, the minutes whiz by?

With a 12:30 lunch appointment at York Place today I allowed 2.5 hours for the trip from home to York.  It never takes that long.

But, today.  I don't know what happened.  By the time I maneuvered my way through the I-20/I-77 transition on the far side of Columbia a low-level unease had begun creeping up the back of my neck.   And, when --  finally -- I left the interstate at Exit 73 (SC901), the 15 minute or so and 20 mile or so combination I faced, plus two lane traffic, stop lights and road construction, made my stomach hurt. 

The minutes went faster than the miles.  With every curve in the road and every new vista in front of me I chewed on my mantra:  York has to be here somewhere; York has to be here somewhere; York has to be here somewhere.

At the stroke of 12:30 I was still two miles out.  My cell phone rang.  "Where are you?"  I was so glad to be able to say I had just made the left onto North Congress (SC49), suggesting that the folks gather up their stuff and head toward the parking lot.  Watch the drive.  I'd be there any minute.

My arrival was actually met with applause.  And, lunch was great. 

08 February 2011

Conference call

I realize that conference calls connect people all around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  They are helpful, saving people and organizations travel time and money.  But, with the exception of my year on the Diocese of Upper South Carolina's episcopal search committee, conference calls were not a big part of my professional life.

The faculty for the upcoming photography retreat at Kanuga talked this morning at 9:00 EST.  With every click a new voice appeared -- from Maine to Massachusetts to Montana and both the Carolinas.   (Kathy from Missoula come on with a yawn being two hours earlier than the rest of us).

Commonplace as these calls are, I never cease to be impressed as we greet each other and work through an agenda each in the comfort of our own office or home or a Starbucks or from wherever one places the call.  I envision a web of ribbon or, given my attraction to office supplies bright highlighted lines, on a map linking us.  Holding us together.  Embracing us.

We will see each other soon.  Until then, I have my assignment.  And, I smile, still hearing those voices.

07 February 2011

Just a regular day

Indescribable.  This day.  Several obligations were on the calendar, a meeting here in the morning and a doctor appointment for Tal in McCormick during the afternoon the most notable.  It's something of a rarity, though, for a day to be as purposeful as this one.  I felt in some sort of a zone.  Not rushed at any point.  Clear.  Connected.  Able to enjoy everything as it came.

Late in the day we went outside the fence to put out corn for the ducks.  There are eight residing at the head of Country Club Pond, by the way.  Quite a crowd.  I had the camera with me, knowing that wood ducks are elusive and that I'd likely not get a shot, which I didn't.  The afternoon rain, though, had intensified the colors and textures on the forest floor.  A treasure trove of richness and beauty.  I got my knees wet.  

06 February 2011

Simply super

Well, yes, the game was pretty super.  And even though I'd not breathed a word of it prior to kick-off for fear of jinxing the outcome (delusional to think I have that kind of power, I know), my preferred team actually won.  Something about a city-owned team ...

But, before that ... super started long before the football game.

I like the distinct shadow cast
on the second green by the tree
along with its indistinct
reflection in the water.
The sun was out all day.  After three inches of rain on Friday and total grey yesterday I found myself having to shield my eyes when I went outside, which was a often as possible.  With the air clean and clear the light was brilliant, illuminating things in such a way that caught my breath again and again, and casting dramatic, dark shadows. 

Our two walks -- one early, one late, one to and around the golf course's edge at Pine Ridge and the other along the promenade here at Willowbank, resulted in many photographs.  That activity I probably don't need to mention slowed our progress rather much.  But, Tal complained not even once!

Along the water's edge in the late afternoon
Football final or not, I'll take a day like this any time I can get it.

05 February 2011

Taking care of business

Well, yesterday we had three inches of rain and I read a book.  Oh, and the ironing and a couple meals!

Today, the wet world was inviting.  Birds were everywhere, not on the feeders but everywhere.  If I stood quietly and let my eyes blur, stared out across the yard, it seemed that all I saw was movement.  Fascinating.  Cardinals, wrens, goldfinch, woodpeckers, little brown birds (LBBs). 

And, today the list received attention.  Quicken, bills, taxes (just a mere beginning), greeting cards.  It was a day of the stuff of life.  A good day.

04 February 2011

Thinking about purpose

It has rained all day.  I've not been able to make myself do anything on the list sitting at the edge of my desk.  I did manage all the laundry yesterday after we picked up the dogs and arrived home.  But, today's been another story.

Just because "the list" has been ignored, however, doesn't mean the day has been a waste.  After breakfast I turned on the gas logs in the living room and settled into a chair nearby with a book I'd been given.  "A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans" by W Bruce Cameron is likely not to endure as a classic, but it is a poignant and inspiring story.  And, turns out, an important one to me.

The question of purpose may be one of the basic driving forces of life, leading to the formation of religion, the institution of marriage, maybe even the waging of war.  "A Dog's Purpose" isn't that heavy.  But, it is the persistent question posed by the engaging canine as he (and she) considers life, and his (and her) life in relation to humans: what is my purpose?

Mr Cameron takes that question and, to me anyway, issues a second challenge, beyond finding purpose.  Bailey, one of the names by which the dog was known, learned things during his life.  He remembered them and used those bits, important bits, of knowledge as his life progressed.  And, by the end of the story, he not only put it all together, but he acted on it.

Paying attention to one's life and putting the pieces together into a useful whole.  And, knowing we're doing it.  What a concept. 

Bailey's quest for meaning was so strong and he was so conscientious about it.  Do we even know that it's a desire for purpose that drives us?  Are we monitoring our own lives, our longings, our preferences, our fears, our choices in order to put it all together?  Day-by-day?  Maybe it takes too much psychic energy.  Maybe it's easier simply to drift along.

The one thing I have concluded -- before Bailey, actually; he and this rainy day helped bring it all together, the one thing I have concluded is that relationship is the purpose.  It comes before vocation, before making a living, before doctrine, before anything.  The rest is important, but it's not the most important.  Jesus was right.  That's what loving God and loving neighbor is all about.

03 February 2011


One of the good things about a point and shoot camera is, well, just that.  I was not driving when this photograph was made.  All it involved was a long, one-handed reach and an aim through the steering wheel.  Moments later, on our drive today from Pawleys Island to Edgefield, the odometer went -- ta da -- to 174,000. 

We're going to have to face another milestone one day pretty soon.  Oh, sigh.

02 February 2011

Supper in the sunroom

It's been a 650 mile day, give or take.  Tal and I started out from Lyn's at Lakewood Ranch after breakfast.  I was sort of amused by myself, my eyes lingering almost longingly on two distinct aspects of her neighborhood -- the tile roofs in a variety of colors and configurations and the numbers of lovely shore birds in the cove.  We headed south, back to Punta Gorda, to pick up Mom and begin the drive back to the South Carolina coast.

While planning our trip, the three of us had talked about stopping for the night somewhere along the way on our drive home given the distance involved.  I think, if Mom and I were to be completely honest, we suspected -- despite the talk -- that we would end up driving straight through.  Her Buick hummed right along and even with traffic and road construction we pulled into Mom's Pawleys Island driveway before 8:30.

From Charleston on, Tal and I discovered, Mom had been thinking about what was in her refrigerator.  By the time we had rearranged the cars and brought in the luggage she had a lovely, light supper under way (complete with libation) -- which we settled into comfortable chairs in her sun room to eat.  A nice, nourishing and relaxing conclusion to a long, safe drive and happy trip.

01 February 2011

Orchids and bromeliads

Our one full day in the Sarasota area could have been spent involved in so many different activities.  It was tempting to choose several of the possibilities, to organize a tightly timed iterary and try to do it all.  But, we thought better of it, zeroing in on the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens downtown on the shore of Sarasota Bay and Hudson Bayou.

The Selby specializes in the study, collection of and research on epiphytes, that is air plants, like orchids (pictured here is a pitcher plant orchid) and bromeliads.  The greenhouses are beautiful and overwhelming -- too much to take in. 

Likewise, the grounds -- 14 acres.  A bonsai garden, mangrove forest, bamboo and banyan groves to name a few.  It's a beautiful location where couples like to get married, parents like to have their children pose for photo shoots, where people like to sit on a bench by the water and, well, just sit.  

It was a delightful visit, one that couldn't have been long enough.  We drove onto Siesta Key for lunch at Turtles on Little Sarasota Bay. though.  Wouldn't have wanted to miss that!