Tag Archives: palms

Patterns and Politics

February 22nd, 2016 | 8 Comments »

 

For the last week I’ve been enjoying warm snow-free days on Kiawah Island, a vacation spot off the coast of South Carolina. One of the joys of being here (apart from the weather, of course) is seeing plants I can’t identify. This isn’t because they are rare, it’s because they are unfamiliar, and in vacation mode I can’t find the energy to look them up.  Cycling around the island, with the sun warm on my shoulders, I simply enjoy what I see.

 

These palms have an inner glow that warms the soul.
These palms have an inner glow that warms the soul. On hot days, they would work well as fans.

 

Sun shining through palm fronds catches my eye wherever I look, particularly towards the end of the day when the sun comes aslant.

 

An abstract painting?
An abstract painting waiting to be conveyed onto canvas? I’m particularly taken by the wispy bit on the right.

 

Patterns are everywhere, whether I look straight ahead at a tree trunk …

 

This I can identify: crepe myrtle. Or crêpe. Or crape. I've seen it spelled every which way.
This I can identify: crepe or crape myrtle.  I’ve seen it spelled both ways. Mostly though I’ve seen it butchered. Why do people chop the branches down to ugly stubs? Just because everybody else does?

 

or up at branches silhouetted against the sky.

 

Are these the branches of a live oak?
I think these twisted branches belong to a live oak. Tell me if I’m wrong.

 

From the top of an observation tower I looked down and marvelled at the delicacy of candles on a pine tree.

 

The colours here are natural. I haven't fiddled with them at all. And aren't they stunning?
The colours here are natural. I haven’t fiddled with them at all. And aren’t they stunning?

 

On the same tree, what looked like tiny pine cones in formation were as purple as heather on a Scottish hillside.

 

The colour of this pine are natural. I haven't fiddled with them at all on the computer.
This may be a pond pine, or Pinus serotina. If so, the cones open only after a fire to release seeds, and stay on a tree for 2 to 8 years.

 

The bark of this tree was beautifully patterned as well.

 

This reddish-brown scaly bark is why I think the pine is a pond pine, also called as marsh or Pocosin pine.
This reddish-brown scaly bark is why I think the pine is a pond pine, also called a marsh or Pocosin pine.

 

Trees and palms aren’t the only thing to catch my eye. Or my ears. This past week the talk here has all been political, as Republicans prepared to vote in the South Carolina primary. And it hasn’t ended — the Democratic primary takes place next weekend. In light of the political maneuverings, ordinary grasses take on a special character.

 

These remind me of emerging ferns. And of two contentious old men, arguing a case.
These furls remind me of emerging ferns. Or of prickly men smacking heads over some political point. There was a lot of that last week, in the lead up to the state’s Republican Primary.

 

With a bit of imagination, even shadows tell a story.

 

A bird in flight or the shadow of a palm?
A bird fleeing the political conversation, or just the shadow of a palm? You choose.