What can we learn?

Travel makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
– Gustave Flaubert

Anthony Bourdain, food writer and cook, died this month. Here he speaks to Patrick Radden Keefe at the 2017 New Yorker Festival.

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Food, spirituality, travel, Writing

Full Circle

This picture is about the full circle of spring and the peony, which blossoms, then dies, perennially. My mother died this month. She was 96. Charlotte Sr. was charming and blonde to the end. My daughter, Hadley, read Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem, Peonies, at the Service of Thanksgiving, for her life, was at Christ Episcopal Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the week of peony bloom. She taught me to value beauty.

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready

to break my heart

as the sun rises, 

as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —

pools of lace, 

white and pink —

and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes

into the curls, 

craving the sweet sap, 

taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —

and all day

under the shifty wind, 

as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies, 

and tip their fragrance to the air, 

and rise, 

their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness 

gladly and lightly, 

and there it is again — 

beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open. 

Do you love this world? 

Do you cherish your humble and silky life? 

Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, 

and softly, 

and exclaiming of their dearness, 

fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, 

their eagerness

to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are

nothing, forever.

 

Posted in Arts & Culture

Hutchinson House on Edisto Island.

The images below were taken by the great LIFE magazine photographer Walter Sanders. He was born in Germany but left in 1933 when Hitler came to power, and was employed with LIFE from 1944 to 1961. He died in his home in Munich, Germany.  Walter, according to Life Photographer Carl Mydans,  played a major role in the making of Life Magazine. He also visited Edisto Island and took these photographs. 

I am researching The Hutchinsons of Edisto, and hoping to find more details about the family history. Many of you are familiar with my paintings of this evocative place. My job as an artist is to tell the untold story that I feel as I walk the land. These are stories I hear in the air, which I tried to capture in this painting I call Blue House. If you have family history of the Hutchinson family, or neighboring families of freedman, I invite you to comment or find me. The Hutchinson House on Point of Pines Road, is hopefully being preserved now, by the Edisto Island Open Land Trust, and it will stand, God Willing, to tell the honest truth.

Blue House ©2012 C.Hutson Wrenn

Blue House. 18″x18″

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Posted in architecture, art, Arts & Culture, Gullah, photography

Cold Poem. By Mary Oliver

Cold now.
Close to the edge. Almost
unbearable. Clouds
bunch up and boil down
from the north of the white bear.
This tree-splitting morning
I dream of his fat tracks,
the lifesaving suet.

I think of summer with its luminous fruit,
blossoms rounding to berries, leaves,
handsful of grain.

Maybe what cold is, is the time
we measure the love we have always had, secretly
for our own bones, the hard knife-edged love
for the warm river of the I, beyond all else; maybe

that is what it means, the beauty
of the blue shark cruising toward the tumbling seals.

In the season of snow,
in the immeasurable cold,
we grow cruel but honest; we keep
ourselves alive,
if we can, taking one after another
the necessary bodies of others, the many
crushed red flowers.

“Cold Poem,” ©Mary Oliver, from American Primitive (Little, Brown and Company).

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Poetry, Writing

I Stopped for Beauty

-Amy Gesell, copyright, all rights reserved….. Rare snow today in South Carolina. This is in Erhardt.

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Posted in Arts & Culture

A Cup of Kindness Yet

In honor of my own McLeod ancestors of Inverness, Scotland, Indian Land (Pocotaligo) & Edisto Island, South Carolina. And YOU, my friend. Happy New Year!

“In 1788 the Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum, indicating that it was an ancient song but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.

It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia.

It has long been a much-loved Scottish tradition to sing the song just before midnight. Everyone stands in a circle holding hands, then at the beginning of the final verse (‘And there’s a hand my trusty friend’) they cross their arms across their bodies so that their left hand is holding the hand of the person on their right, and their right hand holds that of the person on their left. When the song ends, everyone rushes to the middle, still holding hands, and probably giggling.

Most Scots know the first verse and the chorus but if you don’t, here’s the full version.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

Chorus

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And long, long ago.

Chorus

And for long, long ago, my dear
For long, long ago,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago

And surely youll buy your pint-jug!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
For long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have run about the hills
And pulled the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since long, long ago.

Chorus

And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
And give us a hand of yours!
And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
For long, long ago.

Chorus” – Thank you, http://www.scotland.org

Posted in Arts & Culture

Watch Night.

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Posted in Arts & Culture, Gullah, religion, South Carolina History, spirituality

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What’s this?

Welcome to my blog about the Lowcountry of South Carolina, a place proud with beauty, history and art. Sometimes we feel a call, to be, to go, to do. I was called to be an artist, and as an old midwife from Alabama said, “If the good Lord wants you to do something, you won’t have no good luck until you do it.”

So here I am writing about what I know, about the 'under glimmer' as the poet Basho, says, the way I have learned to see, to notice. I am inspired by, and talking about the history and art and culture of this place that has called me to herself. By the ancestors.

My background includes a degree in fine arts from a small private college in Florida, and before that, four years of all girls' boarding school in Asheville. I worked as a professional photographer, helped my children grow up, and now and I love seasoned things, good food, better conversation, beauty, my beloved and beautiful Italian Greyhound, Beau. Moved by the sacred places and stories of this beautiful historic land called the Lowcountry, I am here in spirit and I hope to infect you with my love of this place.

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