As the afternoon sun sinks slowly behind the western edge of the creek, a johnboat slips silently upstream, a few feet from a great blue heron, just beneath the ever-present osprey.
To the right, a turtle suns himself on the sagging limb of a tree that leaned too close to the water's edge. To the left, a red-winged black bird chirps a warning then flies away.
Up ahead, the brackish water winds like a serpent, slowly seeking a slope that barely exists.
Pushed by imperceptible hands of time, it follows ancient commands like a soldier, without question, without knowing why, or where it all ends.
There is something special about being in the waterways of the Lowcountry, surrounded by silence, except for the rustling of birds and the subtle sway of spartina grass.
They say people come here for the beaches. But they stay here for the marsh.
When you think of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the mind is flooded with visions of sun-drenched days on long sandy beaches, carriage rides down romantic lanes or moss-covered trees swaying softly in an afternoon breeze.
Throughout this mosaic you hear the sounds of summer. Shag music coming off a sandbar. Children's voices escaping the boundaries of a schoolyard. People talking as they turn a corner and fade off into hidden gardens. Church bells chiming across the city, signaling the passage of time, a commodity measured differently here somehow.
Then there are the restaurants, bars, museums, parks, vistas and sunsets that seem painted by hands unknown and unseen.
From the billowing sails on the harbor to the eternal patience of a cane-pole fisherman dangling a hook from a shady bridge along a country road, there is a peace that prevails and should never be taken for granted.
Some days this feels like an old place, moss-covered, storied, sinking slowly into a Confederate grave where it will lie comfortably with those whose lives and names have come and gone.
But some days it feels newborn, pink, freshly spanked, and ready to take on new ways of doing old things.
Because we're not without traffic, crime, and people who don't know how to behave. Thus we have not excused ourselves from society at large.
We simply long to be small enough to see the daily wonders, enjoy the sweetness of shade, smell the magnolia blooms, glide home on an incoming tide, pull up to the dock just as the last rays of day descend behind the tall pines, and be thankful that we love where we live.