This past month we traveled to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina to celebrate Malcolm’s birthday at a beautiful Montage resort. This part of coastal SC is called ‘low country’ and you understand why as soon as you turn east off of I95. Miles and miles of marshy, low-lying wetlands are mesmerizing.
The photo on the left is typical of the views in this nature-rich environment. It is not uncommon to see alligators sunning themselves in fresh-water ponds, or egrets wading through the marsh in search of food.
We enjoyed five lazy days here, riding our bikes and walking throughout the property making discoveries around every corner. Montage offers elegant accommodations, a couple of nice restaurants, plenty of activities, beautiful vistas, and lots of tranquility.
We devoted two nights of this road trip to visiting my brother in North Florida. His home is a bit out of the way, but I haven’t seen my family in more than two years, so why not take a small (three-hour) detour. Getting the family together for dinner was a highlight for us. Eating fresh-shucked oysters outside on a cold night by the fire while reminiscing with everyone was perfect. And then this happened.
My nephew was in charge of feeding the fire, and I was watching the embers spark each time he added a new log. It was pretty, so I grabbed my cellphone and started snapping. When I scrolled back through the ten or so photographs I took this is what I saw. So, what do you think, bad omen or incredible coincidence?
Time With Friends
While we were in Palmetto Bluff, I received a call from a dear friend who invited me to visit with her in Key Largo. After a week of sweaters and close-toed shoes, I was ready for a beach break, and the opportunity to spend ‘girl time’ with my friend, so I accepted the invitation.
Key Largo is the first of the Florida Keys and just 2 1/2 hours south of my home. However, it couldn’t be more different, in terms of environment and (right now) temperature from where we live. If your mind jumps to a Jimmy Buffet song, you’ve got the right image. It is colorful, quirky, individual, artsy, and insanely unique. People all over the world are attracted here, some are lured by the sea, and others because of its ‘no worries’ vibe and lifestyle.
We spent our time lounging by the pool, taking long walks, getting our toes wet in the gulf, and enjoying sunsets and cool breezes. You don’t have to work hard to relax here, just be open to ‘whatever’ and let it happen.
My WOTY (word of the year) is MORE. The events of January exemplify what I had in mind when I chose that word. I felt like what had been missing in the previous months were quiet, purposeful moments that help maintain balance in my life. Busy is different from intentional and purposeful, and I had been so busy moving, adjusting, celebrating holidays, and forcing a sense of normalcy, that I lost track of just BEING. This month provided many restorative moments that reminded me of what truly feeds my soul. Me time, time with friends and family, celebrations, experiencing nature, simple pleasures, and even a quirky fire filled me up with renewed energy.
Linked to Retirement Reflections, a blog hosted by Donna, who is a co-contributor to WOTY Reflections, a monthly blog wrap-up. If you would like to join the discussion, please visit Donna, or one of the other hosts, Jo, Debbie, and Sue.
If you would like to read more about my WOTY, read this post. Let’s Talk About the R Word.
I am also sharing this post with Terri’s Sunday Stills whose subject this week is “The Elements.” This post includes the elements of fire and water – both have the power to destroy as well as to heal and reveal new life. If you have looked at my Instagram feed, it’s hard to miss my fascination with water, but fire isn’t something I witness with frequency. Maybe I should take a closer look.
Also shared with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.