It's winter in the lowcountry! How do I know that when the temps remain in the 60-70 degree range you might ask? (Though by some decision by Mother Nature today brought a cold, windy day) Though the shiny thick magnolia leaves cling to the brances since they are actually evergreens, the fragrant flowers have dropped and huge pods with bright red seeds hang there instead.
A favorite area on Hilton Head Island is Coligny Plaza - the bright buggy seems to be decked out in holiday colors and though it's this color year-round, against the crisp skies and cooler temps it seems even more festive now.
For birdwatchers, the Audubon Christmas count is a delight since the lowcountry is a major rest stop for migrating ducks and songbirds. The hooded mergansers take baths in our lagoons, the woodstorks with their grave countenance look disdainfully while the diving birds go after fish. Our purple finch remain and bright yellow finshes look like canaries in the trees.
The smell of wood smoke permeates the air as firepits are started either just to sit around and chat, or to enjoy freshly steamed May River oysters.
The skies are clear and our usual humidity disappears as the reflection of the moon dances on the ocean and makes the sand on the beach sparkle.
Romance is in the air as well since mistletoe grows wild in our oak trees. I'm told the favorite way in the south to harvest it is to bring out your shotgun and shoot it down. Not sure about that method but have learned not to question local culture.
Decorations are plentiful on the smallest cottages to the elegant homes with wide inviting front porches, Snap dragons, pansies, poinsettias blooming all on their own, amaryllis, and hollies take over from the flamboyant summer flowers.
Our winter also brings an abundance of vegetables. With farmers' markets in Hardeeville, Ridgeland, Bluffton, and on Hilton Head Island, there are no excuses for not enjoying collards, kale, blackeyed peas and turnips.
It's also a busy time for our visitors. For those who are able to take advantage of our empty beaches, enjoy no waiting at the restaurants, or being able to walk right on to a golf course; there's no better time of the year than winter in the lowcountry.