A look back, and ahead

As the days continue to shorten and the winter solstice arrives, I reflect back on past winter days on Bull Island. This end of the year solstice has always been a celebration for me. I imagined a walk around the entire island back in 2003, and did so on December 22. In reminiscing about that day, several passages from Exploring Bull Island came to mind.

Unlike my last walk on this same section in April, there is not a sign of a biting insect, thanks to the previous morning’s twenty-two-degree chill. The forest trail has a pleasing cover of fresh undisturbed pine needles. Before long I take the fork to the right and am on the dike of the Old Fort Road. The hedgerows of live oak, palmetto, yaupon holly, bays, wax myrtles and pines leave few views to the Jacks Creek impoundment on the left, but the squawks, beeps and splashes of migratory waterfowl abound. When I peer out through small openings, I trigger the skittering of ducks.

After walking through the entire middle of the island, through the maritime forest, I paused at the southern end.

…and find a log to sit on for a short lunch break. I need the rest and fuel. A shrimper is working off the inlet’s ebb-tide delta. Past Capers Island in the distance is the unnatural end of the Isle of Palms where high-rises loom. After my short lunch I pause with my eyes closed to give thanks for today and everything I am blessed with. I receive an answer in the exhalation of a dolphin swimming by in the inlet.

I will miss getting out to the island this week. I did the trip last year Approaching a winter solstice, though did not walk around the entire island. Those of  you in the Lowcountry this week can make a trip the day after the solstice. Chris Crolley will be leading this guided walk.

In only a few weeks, I will have the pleasure to lead a group on a walk around the island – a circumambulation. The anticipation is becoming palpable. I just reviewed the last time I made that walk (2003), and the duration needed was five and a half hours. Here is information about this trip – Down the Island and Back Again. It will be a fundraiser for the SEWEE Association.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a January day in the Lowcountry.