Prehistoric Pottery Shard
On a recent visit to St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge, Crystal, Sue, Jeff, and I discovered a spot where an ancient Indian midden (=prehistoric trash pile) was eroding into the Gulf. That is, the beach was loaded with old worm-riddled oyster shells and pottery shards. In short order, we found a few dozen “choice” pieces and I photographed them on site. It wasn’t the first time for such an adventure, nor is it likely our last, but it seems timely to present some of my artsy photos from years of exploring this island paradise with our friends.
Cabbage Top - a prominant palm grove on the island's bayside.
Tahiti Beach - the rarely visited jewel-of-a-beach at St. V's east end
St Vincent Sunrise - the dunes on the Gulf front.
There! Three images to establish that this is one beautiful island. In this post, I'm mostly going to zoom in to treasures and artsy jewels found in the course of our many explorations. Let's start with the sand beneath our feet.
Last Rays of Light
Microbial Art I - The amazing palette of algae and micro-organisms
Snail-spun “Doughnuts” ...in Slow Motion
Sand Storm at Sunrise
Microbial Art II
Snakeskin Water. A small rivulet draining across the beach.
Living Beach Sand. Coquinas in the surf wash on the Gulf beach.
Then there are the living creatures of St. Vincent -- the birds, crabs, fish, even jellyfish -- who sometimes find themselves the subject of artsy photos.
Black Skimmer Sunrise
Blue Crab Art
Feeding on Light
Why do these deadly little masters of camouflage seem to always like trails? I've very nearly stepped on three of them in my Crocs or flip flops.
Praising the Sea
Sting Ray Art
Skimmers in Light
Cannonball Jellyfish -- with Pilotfish pal
Over many years, Crystal and I have shared adventures (and misadventures too - stories in themselves) with Susan Cerulean and Jeff Chanton at St. Vincent Island. We've seen the roaming wolves and soaring eagles, crossed paths with big alligators, watched the dolphins leap and the pelicans dive, and hiked the forests and beaches. Sue, a writer and biologist wrote a beautiful book, Coming to Pass -- about St Vincent and our stories, as well as other nearby barrier islands and their fragile ecology. She is currently the President of the Friends of St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, and the island's fiercest defender. Jeff is a renowned FSU oceanographer, and one of his research projects is measuring the impact of sea level rise on this barrier island.
So my photos made the cover and are scattered among the pages of this wonderful book. I encourage you to check it out. For a little taste, here is my blogpost about Coming to Pass (with several passages quoted from the book). And here are a few snapshots from our forays on the Island.
Sue and Jeff -- Exploring St. Vincent
Crystal Cools Off
Exploring St. Vincent
Native Americans inhabited St. Vincent Island starting more than 2000 years ago. Fresh water, few predators, and all the oysters you can eat. They left some big trash heaps, er, middens, as record of their presence and food source. Now, the middens are receding heaps of treasure, slowly eroding as the island sinks into the rising sea. The oyster shells from these old middens are quite beautiful.
Oh, and a few other shells thrown in...
Shell Tool - I imagine a stick was driven through the holes.
Modern Moon Shell (not from a midden)
Seashell in Sunset Wash
Scattered amid the numerous midden shells are many fragments from old pots made by the ancient Native Americans. Most are just black and quite worn, but a few have patterns, colors, and rims. They're fun to find even though it's forbidden to take them away (except as photos).
Here are a few classics of the earth and sky that reflect the many moods of St. Vincent.
Stormy St. Vincent
Front Beach Sunrise
Flying in Glory
Morning Storm over the Island
Lying on the Beach Looking Up
And finally, a few artsy images of St. V's flora.
Palmetto Fan (post-burn)
Nature-totemized Palm Trunk
Sand Spur - aplenty
Waves of Wood
Pine Mosaic (post-burn)
Fallen Palm Patina
As usual, I could go on... and on. But I've given you a look at St. Vincent through my eye and lens. I encourage you to find a way into the wild places near you -- galleries of Nature's Art to delight your eye and soothe your soul. Your comments below are much appreciated, and please share this link generously.