Weds Dec let’s see, 27

I took a bicycle out for a short jaunt down to the lighthouse area. Actually, Millie and Joel had rented bicycles for the week and said I could take one, but when I got up before everyone else I found that the bikes were locked up. I walked across the street to a strip mall which had a bike rental place, but it did I say I was up before everyone else? That included the bike rental place. I walked down the mall to the gas station and convenience store at the end, saw the headline that President Ford had died and decided to get the paper, got a piece of coffeecake or some such, and walked back. I did get to take a bike out when Millie found the lock combination for me. There are bike paths all over that end of the island, designed for people who only ride bikes when they are there I guess, because they are very winding and have stop signs every time they cross a driveway, which is every 100 or 200 feet. It’s a lot better than not bicycling at all, though, and a lot better than trying to bicycle on an ice-covered street in New England. At any rate, I did get down to the lighthouse —

— those are the LESS fancy of the yachts in the Harbourtown Yacht Basin — mostly to make sure I had that picture.

Arlene & I walked around the Sea Pines Forest Preserve in the morning. It turned out to be a wonderful place for birds, with a higher concentration of birds than almost any place we’ve ever been except for good days at Mount Auburn in the spring. There weren’t an awful lot of species, but there were several kinds of woodpeckers, loads of Carolina wrens, and zillions of yellow-rumped warblers. We also saw two small raccoons padding around the swamp near the rice field boardwalk.

In the afternoon Joel went off-island to play golf. Arlene, Millie, and I went to the island visitor center and then to the Pinckney Island national wildlife refuge just off the island. At the visitor center I bought Lorenzo Dow Turner’s book Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect and a cookbook with recipes in Gullah and translation.

Turner’s book is a serious scholarly classic. One of the nice things about it is that he writes Gullah words out in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA stands for other things than India Pale Ale, in some contexts). That does a lot for the language, just by making it clear that it’s its own language, not misspelled or broken English. But as I say it’s not light reading. I will have my February work cut out for me.

I wasn’t sure about the cookbook. I do think the Gullah versions are written with a lot of affection and respect, and food is a big part of any culture. I’m glad I got it and read it, even if I may never make any of the recipes in it.

We walked four or five miles at Pinckney Island NWR with Millie. It was another great place for birds, especially marsh birds. We saw lots of gallinules (moorhens)

and a sora

and lots of other birds.

Some other people walking asked us to take their picture, and then they took one of us

We watched “An Inconvenient Truth” on DVD in the evening.

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