Being a girl from the plains of Kansas, I know little of island life, and less about the barrier islands of south Georgia, where I am now, on my latest self-imposed writing retreat. Stepping from a dock onto a boat terrifies me, despite being not a bad swimmer. Even in Kansas, we had to take swimming lessons at the municipal pool of the nearest town, seven miles up the road.
But one can learn a lot from the locals, so on Wilmington Island, I ask questions of those I meet.
First, after hearing Guy #1 (and many others) refer to the tiny island of solid ground in the middle of the marsh as the "hammock," I asked how to spell it.
Just like it sounds, said Guy #2, h-a-m-m-o-c-k.
In the context of the marsh, I wanted to know more, so I asked the next guy. Tell me about the hammock. Are there snakes here? (I was nervous about walking across the roots in sandaled feet)
You mean the "hummick," grinned Guy #3.
Really? How do you spell that?
Just like it sounds, h-u-m-m-i-c-k.
I looked it up. Dictionary definition: Hummock: A piece of forested ground rising above a marsh."
Next question, next day, new person on the dock:
What are those tiny creatures all over the boardwalk that scurry sideways when your foot falls in their territory?
Guy #1: I don't know, little crabs, I guess.
Guy #2: Baby crabs. They'll grow up to be the big blue crabs we eat. But some people will tell you they're fiddler crabs.
Guy #3: Not the same as blue crabs. That's as big as they ever get. They're just food for the birds. Lots of people fish with them.
New day, new question: (in preparation for this blogpost---call it research :-)
Me: Are those herons---the big white birds in the marsh?
Guy#1: You mean the cranes? Nah, they're just cranes. I don't know what kind.
Me, with rephrased question of next guy: What kind of cranes are those?
Guy #2: They're not cranes. They're herons. White herons.
Gal #3: Neither crane nor heron. They're great egrets. Aren't they spectacular birds?
Tomorrow: Hurricane Irene
|Mother and youngster?|
|Too close for comfort.|
|Brilliant in the sun|
|View from my deck|
|It's called a boardwalk for a reason|
|From Buddy and Judy's boat|