Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Snapshots of Charleston Gardens

"Pedestrian" has been given an unfortunate meaning:  lacking in vitality, commonplace, dull.  But after two mind- and butt-numbing round-trip drives from Georgia to DC on the I-95 corridor in as many months, I can assure you that "pedestrian" is anything but.

My New Year's Day trip started like the others, in rain.  The driving rhythm and competition to "get ahead" was compelling.  But not long after exiting the interstate onto US 17N, I was forced by the posted speed limit to slow to an unwelcomed crawl.  Highway stretches lined with moss-draped oaks, and marshes exuding sulfury miasma intoxicated me enough.  By the time I crossed the Ashley River into Charleston, I longed to mosey.  It being a holiday, I easily found a parking spot on Meeting Street near White Point Gardens.  Rainfall ended; a few rays of sunshine sliced through the clouds.  I grabbed my camera.  From there, I strolled south and east to the Battery, back west on Murray Boulevard to Lenwood Boulevard, northward to Tradd Street, and eastward to complete the circuit.

Gardens entice me.  Walled ones seduce me to point at doorways and windows, to lean over fences, to poke my lens through grates and gates, to stroll brazenly where others may fear to tread.  If anyone challenges me, I'll say, "It's okay.  I'm a perfessional."  Though no one has, I'm ready; I've rehearsed it a thousand times.

The accompanying photographs amount to a confession of sorts.  Follow me now to enjoy the vitality and imagination of a few of Charleston's gardeners that pedestrians may enjoy.


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