Holiday lights look brighter and more cheerful when the outside air is cold and blustery. Their twinkling colors give life to the dark winter nights. With a soft scarf inside my heavy jacket I pull my daughter close to keep warm. Speaking in steam we point out our favorite light patterns.
Lights and decorations reflect the joy in our hearts as we welcome our loved ones home to celebrate. Many of us will see a white Christmas, as Arctic air has arrived in time for the Holidays. It’s a beautiful time of year, and time to celebrate!
This week’s photo celebrates the bonds we have with our loved ones. “Cozy Couple” looks at two birds sharing a quiet moment surveying their garden beyond. While the setting is far from a winter wonderland, the emotional connection has a similar feel.
The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a piece of living history outside Charleston, South Carolina. The mansion sits in the middle of America’s oldest garden, surrounded by the Ashley River. Gravel paths wind through Azaleas and Live Oak trees covered in Spanish Moss. Time seems to stand still on these warm paths, inviting a slower pace and a large memory card in the camera. It is a wonderful way to spend a warm spring day.
Beyond the mansion and gardens there is a second park area that deserves some attention. The Swamp Garden, resembling a nature preserve more than a garden, follows a wide wooden boardwalk through the Cypress forest, floating above the mineral-rich waters. Lush vegetation thrives in the algae-covered lowlands, creating a matrix of nesting and hiding places for wildlife. Spanish Moss clings to the branches above, reducing sight lines and amplifying the croaking of the frogs.
At the far end of the garden, the boardwalk emerges from the forest and looks over a large body of water. Covered in a stringy web of algae, it is filled with turtles and crocodiles gliding along in the warm sun. Dead trees are scattered through the pool, providing a sculptural roosting place for Herons, Egrets and other birds of prey. It is here that our subjects are settled in for the afternoon. These Anhinga birds patiently wait on their branch, surveying the still waters below. There isn’t much conversation or interaction between them, just a comfortable companionship as they consider their next move.
The Holiday Season reminds me of this image in a slightly unusual way. There are occasional quiet moments at a holiday gathering where I gravitate to a balcony, a porch or some other quiet space to catch my breath. I inhale the fresh air and calm silence, admiring a view that I normally ignore. I’ll sometimes look to my side and find a friend standing there, gazing off in the distance, sharing the space and the moment. Our eyes meet and we share a slight nod and a smile, then return to our thoughts. These moments are as precious to me as the louder ones inside at the party. True friends don’t need words to bond, understanding that the moment can speak for itself.
Do you like what you see? Great! Share this with your friends and return next week for another photograph. In the meantime, please visit my website to buy “Cozy Couple” at a 25% discount!! No coupon code is required – discount is applied automatically until January 1st!