By Terri Seignious, Guest Contributor
Any day is probably going to be a good day when you walk out on your back porch in the early morning hours and are greeted by a baby bald eagle taking flight. This is just one small sign that life along the water on the sea islands surrounding Charleston SC is pretty special. If you ever want to see happiness up close and personal come to my house late on a summer afternoon, grab a cooler, and whistle for my two golden retrievers. They will race you to the dock, scattering a few shorebirds along the way, just to hang out with” their humans” by the water. There is nothing that will bring a smile to my face, and theirs, like a jog down to the water followed by sitting on the edge of a floating dock to watch the world drift by.
The rivers around Charleston are such an amazing place. If the tide is in, and slow, the dolphins will be grazing in the waters around most lowcountry docks and the soft breathing sound they make is often the only sound around. They come in abundance, sometimes with babies in tow. Many times they come in so close you can almost touch them as they feed. They are quiet but if you watch closely you will understand that they are also very calculated in their feeding habits. To sit and watch mother nature at her best has a tremendous calming effect. It simply washes away the cares of the day.
The tide is ever changing on the river so as you sit there the colors, the landscape, and the bird population will shift. If there are terns when you arrive there may be egrets when you leave. Oftentimes, there are a pair of bald eagles that will circle above my dock waiting on the perfect catch. If you are around the lowcountry long enough you will spot bald eagles or their cousins, the osprey. We are blessed in Charleston to have such an array of bird life which is one reason the Audubon loved spending time here.
My husband looks forward to water skiing as one form of relaxation at the end of long day. On long summer afternoons he changes after work, drops the boat in the water and goes out for an afternoon run down the river. Our sons, now 25 and 28, have grown up on the water so if he can tempt them into joining him for an afternoon slalom session he will. The dogs, kids and dad still enjoy that calm beautiful skiing water that an afternoon on the Stono River can provide. If it is a slower afternoon we just sit on the dock and chat about our day. In my world, a relaxing few hours on my dock are all it takes to revive a really good mood.
What about bugs I am often asked? Well, yes, we have them. The “no see ums” (gnats) and mosquitoes can be rather prolific in the summer. The good news is that sitting on our dock we have an incredible breeze from the river so most days I am not bothered at all by the bugs.
It seems that some people think that to get this “river experience” you have to travel far from the city. The truth is, Charleston is literally surrounded by water. The historic area is actually on a peninsula that is sandwiched in between the Cooper River and the Ashley River. My house on Johns Island, although technically in "the country," is only about a 20 minute drive to the downtown restaurants, theatre and my office on Broad Street. Since I grew up a bit of a tomboy and love having my dogs, horses and other animals, living alongside the Stono River is the perfect spot for me.
Johns Island and Wadmalaw Island are two of my favorite islands that are so close to downtown Charleston and both offer the amazing serenity of living on the water.
As Pat Conroy so eloquently put it ““My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of an indrawn tide.”
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